"Hardik Would've Been Disappointed": Boucher's Honest Take On MI Skipper

After finishing their disastrous campaign at the bottom of the points table, Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mark Boucher acknowledged the team's difficulties

May 20, 2024 - 04:00
"Hardik Would've Been Disappointed": Boucher's Honest Take On MI Skipper

After finishing their disastrous campaign at the bottom of the points table, Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mark Boucher acknowledged the team's difficulties while emphasising the need for patience and careful consideration before making changes. After losing to the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 18 runs, Mumbai's Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season came to an abrupt end, finishing last in the IPL standings. Boucher addressed Hardik Pandya's captaincy and batting struggles and acknowledged the all-rounder's leadership potential.

The MI head coach believes Pandya will learn from this experience and emerge a stronger leader.

Hardik had one of his worst seasons with both bat and ball and his captaincy also received criticism in the end.

"Even Hardik would've been disappointed with his performance. From a captain's perspective, he had some excellent games," Boucher said in a post-match press conference.

Boucher believes Pandya will grow as a leader and gain knowledge from this experience.

"There's a lot of stuff going around him that clouds his thoughts now and again, which is also challenging for him as a leader. He certainly had a lot of support within our dressing room, and guys are trying to help him out, but it is tricky to go through as a player. It is what it is, and it will undoubtedly be a learning curve for him with his leadership growth. While times are tough now, some things will pass, and he'll be a tougher leader. So, some fantastic things are coming for Hardik Pandya as a leader," he added.

"He came into the season with little cricket behind him, so it would always be reasonably tough on him. We understood that as well. His bowling got a lot better as the season went along. Unfortunately, he didn't fire with the bat this season. He showed glimpses of what he can do," the MI head coach said.

Regarding Pandya's captaincy and his own future, Boucher stayed tight-lipped but underlined that important decisions should always be made after a cool-headed assessment.

"With regards to my stuff, I'm not too sure where I'm going, to be honest. As I said, it's early days at the moment. A lot of people are emotional. There's probably going to be discussions about all of us. I don't think there's only one person. We're in a high-performance zone, and when you underperform, you need to get looked at," he added.

"So, the only thing I can do as a coach is give my best, precisely what I've done. I've got no regrets about what I've done here. Could I have done things better? We'll sit down and evaluate that, as we do with all the players as well," he stated.

Concerns have been raised by MI's subpar performance over the last three years and Boucher agreed that a comprehensive analysis was necessary on the five-time IPL champions' form.

"Yeah, it's disappointing. After our auction, we identified our bowlers as something we wanted to strengthen, and we felt that we did that. At the beginning of the season, losing two players wasn't great for us, but we still had some great options. So yeah, on paper, I thought we'd do much better than we've done. We just haven't managed to combine our batting and bowling in one single match. One has always let the other down, which is unfortunate," Boucher said.

"This is a cause for concern, and it is certainly something that we need to address as a franchise. I'm sure we will. Mumbai Indians is a very successful franchise for a reason. When you see trends like that, then you sit down, and you evaluate every season. You do a review, and if there are trends that are happening each year, then you do have to sit down and make some changes and make some big calls, which I know for a fact that we're okay with doing," said the MI coach.

In just 14 IPL 2024 matches, Hardik amassed 216 runs, including a 46-run maximum. The all-rounder's season began to fall apart quite early on, with an average of just 18 and a strike rate of 143.05.

Despite taking 11 wickets with the ball throughout the season, his economy rate was 10.75 and his average was 35.18.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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