Cricket

Team Loyalties Split: MI's Indian Player Root For Rohit Sharma, Foreign Stars Throw Support Behind Hardik Pandya

Mumbai Indians' primary objective now is to avoid finishing at the bottom of the points table when they face Lucknow Super Giants in their final IPL 2024 match at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday

Hardik Pandya (left) has replaced Rohit Sharma as the new MI Skipper
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The Indian players in Mumbai Indians are said to be backing Rohit Sharma, while overseas players are throwing their support behind current captain Hardik Pandya. (More Cricket News)

Mumbai Indians' much-anticipated resurgence this season has unfortunately ended in disappointment. With just one match left, their playoff hopes have been dashed. Their primary objective now is to avoid finishing at the bottom of the points table when they face Lucknow Super Giants in their final IPL 2024 match at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.

While they must defeat LSG and hope that PBKS don't win their last match, Mumbai Indians have more pressing concerns to address.

MI faced the ire of fans on social media and in real for their decision to recall Hardik from Gujarat Titans and appoint him as captain at the beginning of the season, replacing Rohit - their most successful captain and the first to win five IPL titles.

Now, reports suggest an open division between Rohit and Hardik. According to a report in Dainik Jagran, Indian players of MI are in favor of reinstating Rohit as captain, while overseas players have sided with Hardik. MI lacks big names in terms of overseas recruits.

Recently, former South Africa captain AB de Villiers highlighted this when analyzing Hardik's captaincy. The former RCB batter mentioned that Hardik's "chest-out" leadership style might be effective with young or less experienced cricketers but could potentially encounter challenges with established players like Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah.

However, Hardik doesn't face many issues with the overseas players of MI. Tim David previously referred to Hardik as the "glue" of the team. "Hardik was the glue that held us together and gave us a chance to play with freedom at the back end," the Australian said. "Hardik has been phenomenal in the way he has been playing for the team."

The report also mentioned that Rohit and Hardik have rarely practiced together during this IPL. According to the report, the Indian skipper, Suryakumar Yadav, and Tilak Varma left the practice session as soon as they saw Hardik approaching the nets on the eve of the match against KKR.

The form of both Hardik and Rohit is also worrisome. Hardik has experienced one of his worst seasons with the bat, while Rohit has seen a significant decline in form during the latter half of the tournament.

If the strained relationship between Hardik and Rohit does not improve, significant changes in the MI set-up should not come as a surprise, especially with the mega auctions scheduled for next year.

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