AB de Villiers opens up on Hardik Pandya's 'ego-driven' MI captaincy, explains why it won't work with Rohit, Bumrah

The IPL 2024 season has been difficult for Mumbai Indians and their captain Hardik Pandya. MI entered the edition against the backdrop of significant controversy, with Hardik replacing five-time title-winning captain Rohit Sharma as the franchise's new captain; This decision faced criticism from its own fans, and things did not change when the season started. Hardik was criticized by MI's own fans at the Wankhede Stadium and reports of unrest in the dressing room continue to surface even today.

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya gestures during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match (AFP)

It doesn't help the all-rounder that his form has also been poor; In 13 matches of the season, Hardik has failed to score a single half-century and was unable to cross the 200-run mark in the team's last match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday. With the ball, he has 11 wickets to his name, which highlights a very poor performance from an all-rounder of his caliber.

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Several key names including Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav also suffered a disappointing season with the bat and MI became the first team to be eliminated from the playoff race earlier this week.

As MI suffered their ninth defeat of the season against KKR in Kolkata, AB de Villiers talked about Hardik Pandya's captaincy so far at the franchise. The former South African batsman believed that Hardik's leadership style was not “always genuine”.

“Hardik Pandya's captaincy style is very brave. De Villiers said on his YouTube channel, “It's ego-driven in a way.”

“I don't think the way he walks on the field is always genuine, but he has decided that is his style of captaincy. Almost like MS (Dhoni). Cool, calm, collective, always with your chest wide open.”

Will not work around experienced players

Explaining his point in more detail, AB de Villiers gave the example of his experience of playing under the leadership of Graeme Smith. The former South African opening batsman led a fairly young team for several years, leading them to significant success during his tenure; De Villiers was a young man when he joined the Smith-led Proteas team.

“When you play with a lot of experienced players, guys who have been around a long time, they're not interested in it. It worked in GT, where it was a young team. Sometimes, inexperienced players like that Prefer to follow the lead of.

“I remember Graeme Smith. He was there for the team. As a young man all I had to do was follow. Now, there is one Rohit (Sharma), one is (Jasprit) Bumrah. They say, 'We just need you to stay calm.' Give us some information about how to win the match. We don't need bravery'. I am not paying attention to Hardik. I like watching him play. I liked her exposing her breasts because I was like that. I believed that as a batsman, sometimes, you have to fake it to make it,” he concluded.

Mumbai Indians will play for pride when they take on Lucknow Super Giants in their final match of the season on May 17.

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