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Rohit Sharma was unhappy with the decision to replace him as Mumbai Indians captain and was not consulted before the team management made the decision. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher set the record straight on the thorny issue of the change in captaincy, saying that it was a collective decision taken to replace Rohit Sharma with Hardik Pandya for the 2024 Indian Premier League season.

“We have had conversations with certain team members and the leadership within the group. Rohit has been fantastic for us and he’s been a stalwart for Mumbai Indians. He has done really well. This is just a decision that is made by us to move forward and get into a transition phase with a new captain. Take all the emotions aside and all that type of stuff, that’s simply what it is all about,” said the former South African wicketkeeper.

Since the decision to make Pandya as the skipper, the social media is abuzz with reports of displeasure and dissent about the leadership change in the camp.

Veteran player Suryakumar Yadav posted a cryptic message of a broken heart, while many social media channels said that ace bowler Jasprit Bumrah and even Rohit was unhappy with the decision and was not consulted before the team management made the decision.

Responding to the situation, Boucher said: “I am not too sure about any displeasure in the camp. I have heard rumours via social media, but I’m not really into social media stuff. As far as I can say, it was handled in the best way possible by us. It was a decision to move forward and that’s we are now.”

Mark Boucher during the IPL player auction at the Coco Cola Arena in Dubai on Tuesday. Image Credit: IPL

Worst times

Five-time champions Mumbai have endured one of the worst times in the last three seasons. As defending champions, Indians failed to qualify for the 2021 edition, while they finished at the bottom of the table the following year.

Last season, the Paltans managed to qualify for the playoffs, but failed to make it to the final after losing to Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier 2. The team is going all out to ensure that they have all the boxes ticked before going into the campaign in 2024.

Boucher said the team got most of their major targets at the auction and is very happy with the pace attack they have assembled. Boucher was also pleased with the acquisition of Shreyas Gopal, the leg spinning all-rounder who has been a part of the team in the past. “Shreyas has been around for a very long time. We feel he’ll be very good back up to Piyush. He has a lot of experience, so is a very good option,” Boucher said.

Quality attack

Mumbai Indians came in with the aim of bolstering their overseas pace contingent and added a lot of quality in the form of South Africa’s Gerald Coetzee and Sri Lankan left-arm pacer Dilshan Madhushanka, both of whom were standout performers at the One-Day International World Cup in India earlier this year.

“We were surprised that we got both of them at a very cheap price. We are really happy with the two international picks we have gotten so far,” Boucher added.

Boucher was enthused by the addition of Sri Lanka’s pace spearhead Madhushanka, who he said was picked on the basis of his consistent displays across tournaments. “We made the decision to go for him because he is a young, up and coming superstar. He is a three phase bowler. He swings the new ball nicely and has good change ups at the death. The selection is purely on the basis of what he has been doing of late and I’m sure he’ll add a lot of value to our team,” Boucher concluded.