DC vs MI: Rohit Sharma dragged into the ring by Virender Sehwag as fans question Hardik Pandya's captaincy

Updated - 24 Apr 2024, 12:06 PM

Hardik Pandya and Virender Sehwag
Hardik Pandya and Virender Sehwag (Credits: Instagram)

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who represented the Delhi Daredevils and Punjab Kings in IPL, has come in the support of Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya.

Sehwag claimed that Pandya should not be criticized the way he has been as former captain Rohit Sharma, too, had failed to score runs and win the IPL trophy in the past 3 seasons. Viru also stated that Pandya is not under any kind of pressure. 

For both Mumbai Indians and Hardik Pandya, the 2024 IPL season has been nothing short of dramatic. Despite, putting up decent performances, MI have been losing more than winning as some of Pandya's decisions on the field have been quite questionable.

There is also no bonding or trust between MI's young players and Hardik, something that was on display during MI's away game against Punjab Kings a couple of days ago. 

Hardik Pandya was seen getting ignored by seamer Akash Madhwal, who was bowling the final over of the match. Instead of listening to his captain, Madhwal paid more attention to what Rohit Sharma had to say in the crunch moment.

This speaks a lot about the situation within the MI dressing room and also brings up the question - Is Pandya solely responsible for Mumbai's slump?  

Virender Sehwag says Hardik Pandya is under the pressure of his expectations

While speaking in Cricbuzz's post-match analysis of MI vs RR last night, Virender Sehwag had a different perspective altogether.

Viru claimed that Hardik Pandya could be under the pressure of his expectations but feels that MI have been in this situation before where Rohit Sharma has gone many matches without scoring runs. 

While Sehwag seemed to have supported Pandya initially, the 2014 IPL runner-up with Punjab claimed that if the latter is only thinking of claiming wickets, and scoring runs when the team is losing then it is the all-rounder's fault. 

"It could be the pressure of his own expectations. But Mumbai Indians were in this situation last year as well, and even before that, where Rohit Sharma didn't score runs as a captain. And Rohit Sharma ne as a captain jitaya bhi nahi 2-3 saal se (even Rohit Sharma did not win it as a captain in last 2-3 years)," Sehwag said via Cricbuzz.

“Mumbai know that they have been in situations like these so only if they perform as a team here on, will they get...but if Hardik goes with the expectation that he has to bowl and bat well and that they are not winning under his captaincy and it sort of creates a pressure on him then that is wrong."

"And to perform well he has to bat higher up the order as well, right? If you bat down the order, get about 18 balls to face then how will he perform? He needs to give himself that chance, because if he bats well, his bowling and captaincy will improve as well,” he added.

MI is in desperate need of a 6-match winning run to reach the playoffs

Meanwhile, after losing their match against the Rajasthan Royals last night, Mumbai Indians will have to make sure they go undefeated in the league stages from their next match onwards.

They cannot afford to lose even a single match at this juncture of the season when the competition is bound to get tougher than ever as every team will aim for the top 4 spot.

MI's last 6 matches will see them play Delhi, 2 reverse fixtures each against Lucknow and Kolkata, and a meeting with Hyderabad.