Rohit Sharma: No time for grace in the ruthless world of IPL?

Mumbai Indians have overnight lost more than 300,000 followers on Instagram after Rohit, 36, who led MI to 5 IPL crowns in 11 years, was eased out of the hot seat

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

Gautam Bhattacharyya

The aftershocks of the sacking of Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain on Friday evening are still being felt. While it’s a no-holds-barred mood among the Mumbai Paltan fans on social media, a cryptic post by Suryakumar Yadav on his handle has not gone unnoticed either. 

A broken heart emoji by SKY, vice-captain to Rohit in the last IPL season and the stand-in T20 captain of India, is tell-tale. The world No.1 batsman in this format has been in fine nick in both the T20I series against Australia at home as well as in South Africa – and hence it’s an educated guess that his reaction comes in the wake of missing Rohit’s leadership from now on. 

This comes a few weeks after a cryptic tweet by Jasprit Bumrah barely a day after new skipper Hardik Pandya completed the most sensational trading in the history of IPL – going back to his old franchise after a two-year stint with Gujarat Titans which resurrected his career. ‘’Silence is sometimes the best answer,’’ said their pace warhead, who was believed to be one of the captaincy choices for MI in future. 

In another disturbing trend, Mumbai Indians have overnight lost more than 300,000 followers on Instagram after the change of captaincy. The social media platform, however, is a fickle one and the followers are expected to return should the five-time champions be able to make some top notch buys in the mini auction - but there is no doubt that the initial reaction to the removal of their most successful captain has not gone down well with their fans. 

The carefully worded statement of Mahela Jayawardene, global head of performance of MI, in a press release on Friday resembled a boardroom announcement: ‘‘It’s (change of captain) part of a legacy building and staying true to MI philosophy of being future-ready.’’

Fair enough, but if it’s a smooth transition of power as Rohit is now 36 and there is enough speculation about his future in T20 Internationals, what stopped them from throwing in a quote from the man who has led them to five IPL crowns in 11 years? 

Surely, the entire thing could have been handled with more grace but then, the ruthless world of IPL is no stranger to such moves. It is now believed that Pandya had apparently laid a captaincy clause before the MI management as a condition for his move from Titans – a decision which was conveyed to Rohit right in the middle of the last World Cup. The ‘Hitman’ had reportedly agreed to continue as a player and hence the decision. 

If it was indeed so, what stopped MI from announcing Pandya’s return to the franchise as well as his captaincy on November 26? It was the last day of the transfer window, though the deadline for any such moves ended only a week before the mini auction on December 12.  

It’s very unlikely that Rohit would have opted for any new franchise at this stage of his career, but it would have seemed less of a cloak-and-dagger operation. However, like in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies in the world of IPL. Hence, let's wait and watch! 

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