Mumbai Indians (MI) stirred up the cricketing world by announcing Hardik Pandya as their captain for the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL), marking the end of Rohit Sharma’s illustrious leadership era since 2013. Rohit, who guided MI to five IPL titles, holds the record for being the most successful captain in the history of the league, a feat shared with Chennai Super Kings’ skipper, MS Dhoni.
The surprising move came as Hardik Pandya was traded from Gujarat Titans (GT), a team he led under Ashish Nehra, to MI in a notable deal, despite guiding GT to consecutive finals. MI last clinched an IPL title in 2020, and the decision to appoint Hardik as captain suggests a strategic shift for the upcoming season.
Addressing the captaincy debate, former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh shared his perspective, emphasizing the challenges faced by players as they age in franchise cricket. Yuvraj acknowledged the inevitability of franchises promoting young talents they have invested in.
However, he emphasized that experience remains irreplaceable, citing Rohit Sharma’s substantial experience and successful track record. Yuvraj expressed that while franchises need to think long-term, there’s no substitute for the wealth of experience that senior players bring to the table.
“In franchise cricket, it always gets tough as you get old. Every franchise is always looking to promote a young player on whom they have spent a lot, and that is only fair. I have faced this situation too. But then, there can’t be a replacement for experience. Rohit has huge experience and has delivered. But a franchise has to think long term,” explained Yuvraj Singh in an interview with Times of India.
The conversation extended to other senior players, including Virat Kohli, who faces stiff competition from emerging talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, and Shivam Dube in India’s T20I setup. Yuvraj acknowledged the impressive performances of young players in T20s but reiterated that experience remains invaluable. He believes both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli can continue making significant contributions to the shortest format of the game.
“A number of young players have been doing very well in T20s. Having said that, there can be no replacement for experience either,” emphasized the 43-year-old cricket veteran.