Mark Boucher explains why Hardik Pandya replaced Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain

Rohit Sharma (L) with Hardik Pandya (R). (Source:

Mumbai Indians’ (MI) head coach Mark Boucher clarified that the decision to replace Rohit Sharma with Hardik Pandya as the franchise’s captain for the upcoming IPL season was purely based on cricketing reasons, considering the side’s transitional phase and the desire to optimise Rohit’s batting performance.

“It was purely a cricketing decision. We identified an opportunity to reintegrate Hardik as a player. This phase of transition may not be fully understood by everyone in India, where emotions often run high. However, if we set emotions aside, it’s clear that this decision was made purely from a cricketing perspective. I believe it will bring out the best in Rohit, both personally and as a player. 

“Although he hasn’t been at his best with the bat lately, he has excelled as a captain. We just want him to enjoy his game and score some good runs,” he said, while speaking on the Smash Sports podcast.

Boucher also mentioned the distractions surrounding the IPL, such as photoshoots and advertising commitments, which can divert players’ focus away from cricket. By appointing Pandya as captain, the team hopes to minimise these distractions and allow Rohit to concentrate solely on his batting prowess.

“I mean one of the things I have spoken about is when you arrive at the IPL and he (Chris Morris) will be able to tell you as well that there’s a lot of stuff going on, there are photoshoots and this and that and a lot of emphasis is not actually on the cricket. It’s more about the advertising and all that sort of stuff,” he noted.

Incidentally, Rohit has experienced a decline in form in the IPL over the past few seasons, with his average remaining below 30 since 2017. His performance in the 2023 IPL was particularly lacklustre, with only 332 runs scored in 16 matches at an average of 20.75.

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