'Remember walking to Rohit's room with John Wright. He said...': Kumble's stunning revelation on MI captaincy switch
Speaking on JioCinema, Anil Kumble revealed the circumstances under which Rohit Sharma became Mumbai Indians captain in IPL 2013.
With Mumbai Indians finishing bottom of the table last season, Rohit Sharma will be aiming to bounce back to winning in the upcoming IPL 2023 season, scheduled to begin from March 31. During IPL 2022, things didn’t work for Rohit, with MI finishing 10th in the standings, with eight points from 14 games, including four wins and 10 defeats. MI won their first IPL title in 2013, and that was the season when Rohit took over as their captain, midway through the campaign.
The swashbuckling opener took the competition by storm and led MI to their first-ever IPL title, and has gone on to lead them to four more trophies. IPL 2013 saw Anil Kumble take over as the chief mentor role for MI, and the franchise acquiring Ricky Ponting in the auction, who was then assigned as skipper. But the former Aussie player saw a slump in batting form, and then was eventually dropped from the playing XI, with Rohit taking over leadership.
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Speaking on JioCinema, Kumble said, "Mumbai Indians didn't start well in 2013, it was very similar to how RCB started in 2009, where I think we had won only one out of the first five games. Ricky Ponting was the captain and we had to change the captaincy because only four overseas players can play. We needed to replace Ricky and then get Rohit Sharma in. I think John Wright needs to get a lot of credit for the way he managed as coach. Yes, my job was to put together a really strong support team and build an ecosystem and a foundation for the franchise when we picked Ricky Ponting at the auction."
"The whole intention of choosing him, although he was towards the end of his career, was to bring in someone who had been there, done that. He had won World Cups as captain in a champion team. So we wanted that kind of a approach.
"Unfortunately his batting form didn't support and the team lost four out of the five or six games. We had to make the decision to bring in an overseas player in the playing XI and then choosing another captain. At that point of time, John Wright, I and the owners had the conversation. I still distinctly remember walking into Rohit Sharma's room with John Wright. He said, "Rohit are you keen to take up the captaincy?" There was no hesitancy, he said, "Yes, I am ready." I think you want to see that kind of confidence, you want to see that kind of self-belief in the player saying that I am ready to take over. Although we had some massive names in the team. Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Harbbhajan Singh, Pollard, Malinga. We had some really senior players in the group and Rohit said I am ready. The way he led the team, he was calm, composed and very assured of what he wanted on the ground and he took all the right calls", he further added.
Mentioning that everything aligned for Rohit, who also had senior players, Kumble stated, "Fortunately like I mentioned, when you have to win, you need everything to align. Things aligned and Mumbai Indians won the championship. Since then he hasn't looked back."
During IPL 2023, MI open their campaign against RCB in a blockbuster clash on April 2, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Rohit and Co. will be aiming to begin with a win, but will be without key pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who has been ruled out for the season.