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IPL2024: Boucher acknowledges that Mumbai Indians’ performance was impacted by supporters’ response to the leadership change

Mumbai, 18 May Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher said that the team’s success in the 2024 Indian Premier League was impacted by the supporters’ response to Rohit Sharma’s replacement as captain, Hardik Pandya.

The Mumbai Indians (MI) turbulent IPL 2024 season came to an end on Friday as they lost to the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 18 runs at Wankhede Stadium. With only four victories from 14 games, MI finished in ninth place.

This poor season has been centered upon the abrupt and contentious change of captain from Rohit Sharma to Hardik Pandya, and head coach Mark Boucher has not held back when discussing the effect of fan emotions on the team’s performance.

“Hearing everyone’s jeers wasn’t great,” Boucher said. Of course, I also felt bad for Hardik. Going through anything like that is never pleasant. Yes, there are certain issues that need to be resolved. And we will deal with them.

“This probably isn’t the best moment. Since everyone is really upset and dissatisfied, no wise choice will be taken in the near future. We must return. We must carefully assess the current situation.

The architect of MI’s five IPL championships and a legend of the team, Rohit Sharma, started the pivotal match on the bench before coming in as an impact player. The Wankhede supporters were filled with optimism after his 38-ball 68, and their cries of “Rohit! Rohit!” reverberated around the stadium.

But when he dismissed him, there was an audible silence that was soon broken by cheers. This was in sharp contrast to the jeers that met Hardik Pandya as he took the field, an ongoing response from the supporters after his contentious transfer from the Gujarat Titans, where he had won the team championships and finished runners-up.

Boucher emphasized the psychological cost and the need to pause before making any big choices.

“We have to make improvements in certain areas, both on and off the field,” said Boucher. “The management staff includes some very intelligent people. Together, we will sit down and figure out how to improve the situation so that the players can play the kind of cricket we know they are capable of playing, which wasn’t up to standard this season.

Without a doubt, MI’s performance this season was lackluster. Even with Hardik Pandya leading the way, they could not establish consistency. Hardik’s own performance, which included capturing 11 wickets in 12 innings at an economy rate of 10.75 and hitting 216 runs in 13 innings at a low average of 18.00 and a strike rate of 143.04, likewise mirrored the team’s overall troubles. Boucher speculated that Hardik’s form and leadership could have been impacted by off-field concerns.

“I think that if Hardik were here, he’d also be disappointed in his performances,” said Boucher. “Looking back, I felt he had a few solid games as captain. It’s difficult for him as a leader because of all the things going on around him, which may sometimes impair his judgment.”

“In our locker room, he received a lot of support, but as a player, it’s a difficult experience. Many people are sympathetic to what he’s going through. I believe that a great deal of what he is going through is unnecessary. Hardik will undoubtedly have a learning curve as he develops as a leader.

Boucher expressed optimism about Hardik’s development potential despite the obstacles. Even if things are hard right now, a few things will happen that will toughen him up as a leader and advance him in the position. As a captain, Hardik Pandya continues to inspire me with some amazing things.”

There have been many rumors about Rohit Sharma’s future with MI, especially in the wake of the moving events at Wankhede Stadium. Boucher said that no firm decision had been taken nonetheless. “To be honest, there haven’t been many conversations about Rohit’s future,” he said. “I essentially just gave him a brief rundown of the season when I talked with him last night or the night before. When I asked Rohit Sharma what was coming up, he said, “World Cup.” And that’s ideal. That’s all the information I want on Rohit Sharma’s future.”

With the conclusion of the season comes a time for reflection and possible changes for MI. In order to revitalize the club, Boucher and the management group want to identify and resolve the underlying problems.

This season, there were a lot of moving elements and a lot of things going on, which at times made it difficult to be involved. Certain things have an impact on people, and those effects eventually trickle down to the squad, according to Boucher’s conclusion. “We’ve got some great heads within the management team as well, and we’ll sit down and we’ll find a way of how to make it better ultimately for the players to produce the sort of cricket that we know these players can produce, which was under par this season.”

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