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‘Yes and no’: Hardik Pandya on having chat with Rohit Sharma after taking over Mumbai Indians captaincy

Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya said things are not bound to be awkward when he links up with team India captain in the IPL 2024 camp.

Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya said his reunion with team India captain Rohit Sharma is not bound to be awkward during the IPL 2024 season.

Returning to his former franchise after a successful two-year stint with Gujarat Titans, Hardik replaced Rohit as captain in November 2023 ahead of the IPL 2024 auction. Hardik was traded in an all-cash deal with the Titans, making him the favourite to take the leadership reins from Rohit who led MI to five titles.

“There won’t be any confusion. He is still the India captain. What this team has achieved was achieved under his belt. I am just carrying it forward. I have played all my cricket with MI with Rohit as captain, so I am sure he will always be around to help me out,” Hardik, returning from a three-month injury layoff, said in a media interaction on Monday.

When asked if he has had a chat with Rohit yet, Hardik said: “Yes and no. Rohit has been travelling non-stop (with the Indian team). I will definitely catch up with him when he joins the squad.”

Hardik said he intends to reprise his role as an all-rounder-cum-finisher with Mumbai. “This IPL, I will play as an all-rounder and finish as many games as possible, enjoy the position I have always loved,” Hardik remarked.

The India all-rounder also opened up on his injury during the ODI World Cup last October and said his body is back to its best. “It was a freak injury and had nothing to do with my previous injuries. We tried to push too hard for a return during the World Cup. I have no issues with my body and intend to play all matches,” Hardik said.

Hardik also said that he is relishing his reunion with India teammate Jasprit Bumrah who will be seen as a senior member in the squad. “Jassi (Jasprit) has been our no. 1 bowler and he has been a champion cricketer. Last year, they did miss him. Excited to have him back full throttle and him guiding the youngsters in the camp,” he added.

Hardik, who has featured in 92 IPL matches for Mumbai between 2015 and 2021, said he is not approaching the season with the T20 World Cup in mind. “I am a firm believer that you should be playing for the team that you are playing for. Everyone can have goals and targets of playing for the national team. But we should be honest and I will tell my boys to deliver our best for Mumbai Indians. In that way, if someone gets a call-up for the Indian team, I would be happy.”

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