'Rohit Sharma, Bumrah don't need Hardik Pandya's bravado': AB de Villiers says MI captain ‘faking it to make it’ | Crickit
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'Rohit Sharma, Bumrah don't need Hardik Pandya's bravado': AB de Villiers says MI captain ‘faking it to make it’

May 09, 2024 07:28 PM IST

AB de Villiers said Hardik's "ego-driven" captaincy is not working at Mumbai Indians because they have experienced players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.

Legendary South African batter AB de Villiers feels Hardik Pandya's "bravado" and "fake" intensity haven't quite worked the way he would have liked to at the Mumbai Indians. In his first season as the captain of MI, Hardik failed to leave any impact with bat and ball. Moreover, his captaincy hasn't been up to the mark. The result was obvious. MI became the first team to get knocked out of the tournament. The five-time champions still have two league games to go but even if they win them, it won't make any difference. The best they can do is not finish at the bottom of the points table.

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya with teammate Jasprit Bumrah (PTI)
Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya with teammate Jasprit Bumrah (PTI)

After three below-par seasons in 2021, 2022 and 2023 where they finished fifth, last and fourth respectively, MI decided to replace their most successful captain Rohit Sharma with Hardik. The move drew a lot of flak from their loyal fans. Hardik, in fact, was booed for the initial few matches of this year's IPL.

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It also didn't help that MI weren't winning anything. Despite Jasprit Bumrah's outstanding performance and the odd brilliance of Suryakumar Yadav, MI have only won four of their 12 games this season so far. De Villiers hinted that the captaincy change may have had a negative impact on their performance.

"MI have been very disappointing. I backed them to qualify for the knockout stages, but that didn't happen. What has gone wrong? 5th in 2021, 10th in 2022, 4th in 2023 and they are 9th. Rohit Sharma said, 'I have played under a lot of captains. It's nothing new. You do what you are required to do and I have been doing that for the last one month.' You can read a little bit into that if you want to," he said on his YouTube channel.

‘Hardik’s ego-driven captaincy not working at MI': AB de Villiers

The former South African skipper said Hardik's "ego-driven" captaincy worked well at the Gujarat Titans, as they had an inexperienced squad who followed the Indian all-rounder's leadership but at MI, the likes of Rohit, Bumrah and Surya have found difficulties in adjusting to that style.

"The captaincy style of Hardik Pandya is quite bravado. It's ego-driven in a way, chest out. I don't think how he walks on the field is always genuine, but he has decided that is his way of captaincy. Almost like MS. Cool, calm, collective, always got your chest out. But when you play with a lot of experienced players, guys who have been around for ages... They don't buy into that. It worked at GT, where it was a younger team. Sometimes, inexperienced players love to follow that kind of leadership," de Villiers said.

The former RCB batter gave the example of Graeme Smith to make his point and added that a similar style seldom finds success in a team with experienced cricketers and big stars.

"I remember Graeme Smith. He was out there for the team. All I needed to do as a youngster was to follow. Now there's a Rohit, there's a Bumrah. They go like, 'All we need you to be is calm. Give us a bit of input on how to win matches. We don't need the bravado. I'm not having a go at Hardik. I love watching him play. I love him putting out his chest because I was like that. I believed that as a batter, sometimes you've got to fake it to make it. When you are most scared or feeling the heat of the battle, I can't be the timid, soft-spoken AB I am. The only way to counter that is to make eye contact with the opposition. If you then lose it, you gotta lick your wounds. But if you cross the hurdle, it adds to your confidence.

"Hardik has understood that. But it takes a special senior player to buy into that. You know what? You fake it, and we'll follow," he said.

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