IPL 2024: Will it be happy homecoming for Mumbai Indians and Hardik Pandya? | Cricket News

[ad_1]

MUMBAI: Almost 22 years ago, a chilling act shocked the sporting world. When Luis Figo showed up in bitter rivals Real Madrid jersey to take a corner kick in an El Clasico clash at Barcelona’s famed Camp Nou, a butchered head of a pig was hurled at him.
The severed skull laid near Figo’s feet demonstrated the extreme hatred that Catalan team’s fans had developed for the former Portuguese captain, who had, two years back, chosen to be a ‘Galactico’ at a handsome paycheck of 44 million pounds.
While things are unlikely to go that level at the Wankhede here on Monday night, there could be resentment in the hearts of passionate Mumbai Indians fans when Hardik Pandya having replaced Rohit Sharma leads them out against Rajasthan Royals in one of most highly-anticipated IPL matches.
Having been booed and heckled in the ground and trolled on social media ever since he replaced Rohit, who led MI to a record five titles, Pandya is set to play the toughest match of his career. And what makes it worse for the India allrounder is the fact that despite Pandya taking over, Mumbai Indians have made their trademark slow start, losing both their away games so far, by six runs to the Gujarat Titans, followed by a 32-run loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad.
A few of Pandya’s decisions, like opening the bowling himself and holding back Jasprit Bumrah in Powerplay, coming to bat as late as No 7 when the chase was getting tighter against GT, giving an IPL debut to South Africa’s 17-old left-arm pacer Kwena Maphaka, who went for 0-66 in four overs as SRH’s marauding batsmen tore into him, have come under-fire. Despite the barrage of negativity around him for the last month or so, Pandya, as Steve Smith recommended to him has “shut out external noise” and is unflustered. “What’s appearing on social media doesn’t bother him since he has avoided it completely of late. He wants his team too to be focused on cricket, rather than worry about him being booed in stadiums,” a source told TOI.
A match-winning performance with either bat or ball, or both, will help Pandya win back the love of his fans.
It remains to be seen if MI persist with Maphaka or English left-arm pacer Luke Wood comes back in. Will they hand an IPL debut to Sri Lankan import Nuwan Thushara? Additionally, will Mumbai left arm spinner Shams Mulani, finally getting match-time for Mumbai Indians, come to the party at his home ground?
For MI to get back to winning ways, it’s vital that Rohit and Ishan Kishan find their mojo again. Like he has done in the last few IPL seasons, Rohit, who scored a 29-ball 43 vs GT and 12-ball 26 vs SRH, is showing a tendency to lose his wicket after an initial burst.
For someone who can be susceptible to left-arm pace early on, Rohit needs to be guarded while playing RR’s left-arm speed merchants Trent Boult and new recruit Nandre Burger, who has been impressive.



[ad_2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *