Hardik Pandya doesn’t need Rohit Sharma, can win matches on his own, feels Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag, Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya could not successfully start his captaincy journey with Mumbai Indians. The India all-rounder played his first match as MI captain last week when the five-time champions took on the Gujarat Titans.

MI lost the game by six runs while chasing 169 at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium. The Mumbai-based team was comfortably at 121 for 3 after 14 overs and needed 48 runs off 36 balls. Victory seemed a mere formality at the time. However, MI could not finish the game and eventually ended their innings at 162 for 9.

With 19 runs needed to go in the final over, Hardik Pandya put MI in the driver’s seat. The MI captain hit Umesh Yadav’s first two deliveries for a six and a four to reduce the equation to 9 for 4. However, he was dismissed on the third ball and MI managed to score only two singles off the remaining three deliveries.

Virender Sehwag’s advice for Hardik Pandya:

Apart from MI’s defeat, Hardik Pandya’s batting position has also attracted a lot of attention. The all-rounder batted at number four for the Gujarat Titans in the last two seasons of the IPL and did well. In two seasons he scored more than 800 runs. In 2022, Pandya enjoyed his most prolific season with the bat, scoring 487 runs before scoring 346 runs in 2023.

However, he surprisingly decided not to bat at number four for MI in their first game of IPL 2024. The right-handed batsman came out to bat at number seven with just two overs left. He could only face four balls and was dismissed for 11. And as Hardik Pandya looks to make an impact in his first season with MI as captain, former India opener Virender Sehwag advised him to bat at no. 4.

“I think he should bat at No. 4. He has played at No. 4 for two years in GT. If he is not a 4, he should play at 5. When he comes to bat, there will be spinners in his place. And spinners always fear players who can hit sixes. Hardik has the ability to smash sixes with ease. He can win the match on his own if he bats with that number,” Sehwag told Cricbuzz.