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'Trust Needs To Be Earned' - Former CSK Star On Hardik Pandya's MI Captaincy Challenge

Balaji says time needed to replace Rohit Sharma's legacy at Mumbai Indians [x.com]Balaji says time needed to replace Rohit Sharma's legacy at Mumbai Indians [x.com]

In a pivotal moment for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the ongoing IPL 2024 season, former Indian cricket team fast bowler & IPL Legend Lakshmipathy Balaji has underscored the challenges facing Hardik Pandya as he steps into the role of captaincy, replacing the icon Rohit Sharma.

Pandya's debut as MI skipper was marked by a loss against Gujarat Titans, sparking both scrutiny and reflection on his leadership.

Balaji, speaking on Star Sports, acknowledged the weight of the transition, stating, "Definitely, it will take some time, it will settle." He emphasized the significance of Pandya earning the trust of his teammates, noting, “For Hardik to win the whole dressing room is very important as a player and as a human so definitely that trust needs to be earned."

Despite the initial challenges, Balaji expressed confidence in Pandya's potential to steer MI towards success.

"I'm sure he's good enough and professional enough and he'll accept that." He underscored the importance of victories in fostering team cohesion, cautioning, "If they start losing, then you have problems to face."

The critique further intensified as former Indian cricket team all-rounder Irfan Pathan scrutinized Pandya's decisions during MI's opening match. 

Pathan highlighted Pandya's choice to open the bowling, conceding 20 runs in the first over, questioning the omission of seasoned bowler Jasprit Bumrah.

Pandya's leadership style has not been without controversy, with fans and pundits alike questioning his approach and treatment of Rohit Sharma during the match against Gujarat Titans.

The scrutiny extends beyond the field, with reports swirling about the potential unavailability of Suryakumar Yadav for the upcoming matches.

Looking forward MI gears up for their next encounter against SRH on March 27 in Hyderabad.