'We cleared lot of minds...': Hardik Pandya opens up on MI dressing-room scene over captaincy criticism, booing by fans | Crickit

'We cleared lot of minds...': Hardik Pandya opens up on MI dressing-room scene over captaincy criticism, booing by fans

Apr 08, 2024 10:22 AM IST

On Sunday, Hardik Pandya secured his first win as Mumbai Indians skipper after the hosts beat Delhi Capitals by 29 runs at Wankhede.

There was a lot of noise around the Mumbai Indians team in IPL 2024. Amid the criticism from experts and veteran cricketers over MI's decision to remove Rohit Sharma from the leadership role, incumbent skipper Hardik Pandya faced the wrath of fans on the field and social media as they booed and jeered at him through the first three matches. And if that was not enough, Hardik himself faced criticism for a few of his captaincy calls as MI succumbed to three straight defeats at the start of IPL 2024.

Hardik Pandya reacts after first win as MI captain
Hardik Pandya reacts after first win as MI captain

On Sunday, at the Wankhede Stadium, Hardik was left with a big smile on his face after the match against Delhi Capitals as he secured his first win as MI skipper. Mumbai beat DC by 29 runs.

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After the win, Hardik opened up on the dressing-room chatter on the outside noise, saying that "clearing a lot of minds", handling the players with "love and care" played a key role in MI managing to bounce back from the poor start.

ALSO READ: 'There are definitely two MI teams': Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya's post-win tweets sparks fresh fan theory of rift

"It was a lot of hard work," Hardik said in the post-match presentation. "We cleared a lot of minds, made sure our plans are right, the intent is right, and today was one of the days where everything clicked. There has been a lot of love and care going around. Everyone knows we lost three games, but the belief and attitude of backing each other was there, which has been fantastic. We needed just one win, and today is just the start."

Before the match against Delhi Capitals, Mumbai players spent an off-day away from the city where the members engaged in a team bonding session which included activities like motorboating. In the evening, the players, clad in flamboyant clothing, attended a musical session, where some of the players were even seen dancing, followed by a quiz show. The video posted on MI's website surely showed that the players did have their minds away from all the outside noise and were all in good spirits.

Hardik also revealed that with Suryakumar Yadav coming back, after he missed the first three matches because he was recovering from injury, the team finally looks settled.

"We will be making tactical changes here and there but this will be our 12 and settling our team now is important," he added.

Suryakumar did not make an impactful return to his cherished format, as he was dismissed for a two-ball duck, but MI had kicked off the match on brisk note after openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan smashed 75 runs in the powerplay, which laid the perfect foundation for 234 for five.

"It was amazing," Hardik said on the opening stand. "To get 77 or 80 after six was wonderful. The way everyone is batting, we needed to find the rhythm to bat. The way everyone's chipping in with their opportunities coming was fantastic."

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