Hardik Pandya Navigating Stormy Seas as Mumbai Captain

Hardik Pandya for the Mumbai Indian’s (Source X)

Since the announcement of his return to the Mumbai Indians as their captain, taking over from the renowned Hitman, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya has been the talk of the town. However, the reception hasn’t been entirely favourable. Since the agreement was reached, Pandya has faced considerable criticism from fans nationwide. Among his most vocal critics are supporters of both the Gujarat Titans and the Mumbai Indians, who have relentlessly taunted and booed Pandya. Many have questioned his decision to switch franchises, particularly taking over the captaincy from one of the IPL’s most accomplished leaders. Amid this scrutiny, Pandya finds himself at the centre of attention, navigating through a storm of skepticism and challenges.

When Mumbai took on the Rajasthan Royals on their home turf at the Wankhede Stadium, the story remained the same. One might have expected a degree of hostility towards Pandya, but the scale of it was a shock. To make things worse, Mumbai had already lost their first two games, which put additional pressure on the side and the captain himself. The mood of the crowd towards Pandya was noticeable outside even before the match started, with loud chants stating “Mumbai ka raja, humara Rohit Sharma [The king of Mumbai, our Rohit Sharma]” and “Mumbai ka bhai, Hardik nahi, par humara Rohit Sharma [Mumbai’s brother, not Hardik, but our Rohit Sharma]”.

The vast majority of the crowd seemed utterly disappointed that their captain of the past decade had been replaced. What was ironic, though,was that Pandya had always been a Mumbai boy, winning three titles with the franchise before moving to captain the expansion team in Ahmedabad.


With Mumbai in a spot of bother early on in the innings with four wickets down, Pandya made his way to the wicket. While he was booed, there was a section of the crowd that genuinely wished him well. “I can understand the disappointment the public has towards Pandya taking over the captaincy, but channeling your anger towards him helps nobody,” said Avirup, a diehard Mumbai Indians fan. “We should learn to respect our international stars.” Garima, another Mumbai Indians follower, would say, “The sort of reception that Hardik Pandya has been receiving has been ridiculous. Have we already forgotten all the glory he has brought to the franchise in the past?”

Rohit was seen addressing the crowd, urging them to cease the taunting and stand in solidarity with his teammate. Pandya might be one of the first Indian cricketers to face ridicule simply for choosing to represent the franchise he feels most connected to. While many in the Mumbai crowd have yet to accept Pandya as their new captain, there were still individuals who chose to appreciate the sport for its essence and the happiness it brings.

The Mumbai Indians find themselves in a challenging situation currently, but with Pandya eager to prove himself, things could soon turn around. However, what must change first is the sullen hostility towards him. It’s the responsibility of fans nationwide, especially in Gujarat and Mumbai, to support India’s international stars and consider the bigger picture.

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