Mumbai Indians: Can Pandya step into the Rohit Sharma's shoes?

Five-time champions look to etch their name in the IPL roll of honour

Skipper Hardik Pandya (centre) is all charged up at the nets as Lasith Malinga (right), MI bowling coach, keeps an eye. (photo: MI)
Skipper Hardik Pandya (centre) is all charged up at the nets as Lasith Malinga (right), MI bowling coach, keeps an eye. (photo: MI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

If Mumbai Indians were in the news over the last few months in the build-up to the IPL 2024, it was for the wrong reasons, with Hardik Pandya replacing Rohit Sharma at the helm.

That move created considerable negative vibes among fans. However, the five-time champions will be keen to show that's a thing of the past as they open their campaign against the Gujarat Titans—last year’s runners-up—in an away game on 24 March.

It could well be a battle of attrition at the gigantic Narendra Modi Stadium, where Pandya—who preferred a controversial trade-off to Mumbai after resurrecting his career with the Titans—will lead the charge against his very recent teammates.

However, the Mumbai paltan has enough experience and firepower in their ranks to gain an early momentum this season in their pursuit of the next title after 2020.

Top order and a couple of question marks

Pandya’s role as all-rounder isn't the only one under scrutiny. Every move he makes as captain will be compared with now-India skipper ‘Hitman’, who has created a Dhoni-like legacy for the franchise, leading them to five titles.

He will again be their go-to man at the top of the order, though.

Keeping him company will be Ishan Kishan, who ought to be hungry after being snubbed from the central contracts list. A profitable season with the bat and behind the stumps is the only way for this southpaw to press his claim to a spot in the T20 World Cup, now that Rishabh Pant is also back in the equation.

There is, however, a nagging worry for the team management about the availability of Suryakumar Yadav.

'SKY' has been the pivot of their middle order for quite a few seasons. While there is no clarity on his return date in the IPL, the No.1 ranked T20 batter is believed to be almost done with his rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) after a sports hernia surgery. He certainly seemed in good spirits at the Ambani pre-wedding bash in Jamnagar recently. According to media reports, he should be at match fitness after the first couple of matches.

The shape of the rest

The influential franchise had a good auction in Dubai with the big purchase of Gerald Coetzee, the 23-year-old South African speedball, who had a great outing in the last 50-overs World Cup.

They followed it up by picking up Dilshan Madushanka, the Sri Lankan left-arm quick as the overseas pair—along with Jasprit Bumrah—can be quite a handful in their home matches at Wankhede, which has good bounce and carry.

In Shreyas Gopal and Mohammad Nabi, they invested in a couple of veteran spinning all-rounders, while breaking the bank for young Sri Lankan Nuwan Thushara.

For the money they had, modest compared to some of the other teams, the Mumbai Indians can be content that they managed to add local uncapped stars as well—in particular, Anshul Kamboj.

Mumbai Indians

Owner: Reliance Industries Limited

Captain: Hardik Pandya

Coach: Matthew Boucher

Best finish: Winners in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020.


  • Hardik Pandya (captain)

  • Rohit Sharma

  • Suryakumar Yadav

  • Ishan Kishan

  • Dewald Brevis

  • Tim David

  • Tilak Varma

  • Arjun Tendulkar

  • Kumar Kartikeya

  • Akash Madhwal

  • Nehal Wadhera

  • Shams Mulani

  • Vishnu Vinod

  • Piyush Chawla

  • Jason Behrendorff

  • Romario Shepherd

  • Gerald Coetzee

  • Dilshan Madushanka

  • Shreyas Gopal

  • Nuwan Thushara

  • Anshul Kamboj

  • Naman Dhir

  • Mohammad Nabi

  • Shivalik Sharma

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