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Is Rohit Sharma in the right frame of mind to lead in the 2024 World T20?

Rohit Sharma was replaced by Hardik Pandya as Mumbai Indians captain and had a moderate IPL 2024 with the bat. Will he be able to lead India in T20 World Cup 2024 leaving all the tussle behind?

CWC 2023_ Rohit Sharma has 9 wins from 9 games in world cup so far _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ImRo45_Twitter)
(Photo: ©ImRo45/Twitter)

A lot has happened in the last few months in Indian cricket. From leading India to 4-1 Test series win against England at home, Rohit Sharma saw himself being replaced as Mumbai Indians skipper by Hardik Pandya in IPL 2024. And now, Rohit is back to leading India in T20 World Cup 2024 with Pandya as his deputy. Rohit said the change of leadership in Mumbai Indians camp did not affect him, stating “It is a part of life. It is no different or new to me…Before also in my life, I have not been a captain and I have played under a lot of captains.”

But will Rohit be able to forget this captaincy fiasco by Mumbai Indians management that saw Pandya being booed constantly by fans throughout the tournament? Will Rohit be able to start fresh and put behind this chapter and focus on the job at hand? Will Rohit be able to work together in tandem with Pandya as his deputy?

First, the manner Rohit was unceremoniously dropped as captain of Mumbai didn’t go well with fans and possibly with Hitman. Someone who has won five IPL titles as captain was just given the boot without any formal intimation would be hurting. It would have been tough for Rohit to play under a youngster in Pandya whom he had groomed over the years in IPL, and in international cricket as well. 

Besides, it was clear from the various video grabs and pictures that not all was well between Rohit and Pandya. They didn’t share a great rapport after the captaincy fiasco. In one such video grab, Rohit was seen talking agitatedly with Pandya after the latter hugged his former IPL skipper from behind. Pandya had also made Rohit run around the ground and take positions in the deep where the Hitman does not usually field. The poor run of Mumbai and Pandya’s dismal performance made matters worse as Rohit fans continued to boo Pandya, affecting the latter’s numbers in IPL 2024. 

This saga behind, Rohit has been in inconsistent form in the shortest format. Post his selfless knocks in the 2023 ODI World Cup, Rohit was brought back into the T20I circuit as Pandya, the then possible candidate to lead in the shortest format, was going through a rehabilitation from an ankle injury. Rohit slammed a T20I ton against Afghanistan on his return to the shortest format. He also cracked a ton in IPL 2024 but he was patchy throughout the season. 

Will Rohit be able to put all this behind and start with a fresh slate in 2024 World T20, and dominate the bowling attack as the opener? 

As a captain-cum-opener, a lot is on Rohit’s plate. It is his job to not only provide great starts in the company of Yashasvi Jaiswal, but also lead from the front and win matches single-handedly to show the path for other batters to follow. Hence, Rohit would be under pressure to perform both as a leader and opener. One failure and analysts will sharpen their knives to have a go at him.

What’s the way forward?

Being a professional, Rohit should be able to keep issues at a domestic T20 event behind while leading India in a multi-nation tournament. For him, Pandya would be just another player in the squad with an added responsibility of being a deputy skipper. Here the role of the team management and the coach is vital to make truce between Rohit and Pandya if at all there is any animosity between them before India began their World T20 campaign. 

Both Rohit and Pandya are matured and professional cricketers, knowing very well no distractions are good when playing for the country. And hence, they would be keeping any differences on the backburner and come together as a team to lead India to another World Cup glory.


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