AB de Villiers and Hardik Pandya. Phoro- Twitter
AB de Villiers and Hardik Pandya. Phoro- Twitter

Hardik Pandya has been having a very hard time when it comes to captaining the Mumbai Indians (MI) team in the IPL 2024. He was traded in by MI franchise for INR 15 crores from Gujarat Titans and in a controversial move, named captain of the side as well.

After three disappointing seasons in 2021, 2022, and 2023, in which they finished fifth, last, and fourth, MI decided to replace their most successful captain, Rohit Sharma, with Hardik. The move drew widespread condemnation from their ardent followers. Hardik was booed in the first few matches of this year’s IPL.

However, Hardik’s magic, which helped the Gujarat Titans win the IPL in 2022 and reach the final of the 2023 IPL, has not worked for the Mumbai Indians. Despite Jasprit Bumrah’s remarkable performance and Suryakumar Yadav’s occasional brilliance, MI has won only four of their 12 games this season.

Hardik failed to make an impression with bat or ball during his debut season as MI captain. Furthermore, his leadership has not been up to par. AB de Villiers intimated that the captaincy change could have had a negative impact on their performance.

Hardik Pandya’s “ego-driven” captaincy not needed in MI with senior players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the team: AB de Villiers

The former South African and RCB player suggested that Hardik’s “ego-driven” captaincy worked well for the Gujarat Titans, as an inexperienced group followed his lead. But at MI, players such as Rohit, Bumrah, and Surya have struggled to acclimate to that approach.

“The captaincy style of Hardik Pandya is quite bravado. It’s ego-driven in a way, chest out. I don’t think how he walks on the field is always genuine, but he has decided that is his way of captaincy. Almost like MS. Cool, calm, collective, always got your chest out.

“But when you play with a lot of experienced players, guys who have been around for ages… They don’t buy into that. It worked at GT, where it was a younger team. Sometimes, inexperienced players love to follow that kind of leadership,” de Villiers said on his YouTube channel.

Players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah don’t need Hardik Pandya’s bravado captaincy: AB de Villiers

The former RCB batsman used Graeme Smith to illustrate his point, adding that a comparable method rarely succeeds in a side with experienced players and huge personalities.

“I remember Graeme Smith. He was out there for the team. All I needed to do as a youngster was to follow. Now there’s a Rohit, there’s a Bumrah. They go like, ‘All we need you to be is calm. Give us a bit of input on how to win matches. We don’t need the bravado. I’m not having a go at Hardik. I love watching him play. I love him putting out his chest because I was like that.

I believed that as a batter, sometimes you’ve got to fake it to make it. When you are most scared or feeling the heat of the battle, I can’t be the timid, soft-spoken AB I am. The only way to counter that is to make eye contact with the opposition.

“If you then lose it, you gotta lick your wounds. But if you cross the hurdle, it adds to your confidence. Hardik has understood that. But it takes a special senior player to buy into that. You know what? You fake it, and we’ll follow,” he said.

Mumbai Indians have been eliminated from the race for playoffs in the IPL 2024.

Also Read: IPL 2024: Rohit Sharma, Senior Players Complain To MI Management About Hardik Pandya’s Leadership- Reports