Hardik Pandya’s tactics left Steve Smith ‘perplexed’; all-rounder’s captaincy has been ‘ordinary’, says Irfan Pathan | Cricket News

Mumbai Indians’ captain Hardik Pandya during a practice session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (PTI Photo)

After Mumbai Indians lost their second match in the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League, former cricketers again pointed out flaws in MI skipper Hardik Pandya’s captaincy and the tactics he employed.

Mumbai Indians’ bowlers were tonked for 277 runs in a game that saw 523 runs being scored overall. In reply, Mumbai’s batters could only manage to score 246/5 as their chase fell short by 31 runs.

Australia cricketer Steve Smith, who is on the commentary panel for Star Sports, expressed his surprise at some of the tactics employed by Mumbai Indians captain Hardik during the match.

“I was perplexed with some of their bowling changes in the first innings for Mumbai. Jasprit Bumrah bowled in the 4th over where he went for 5 runs. Then, we didn’t see him again till the 13th over when SRH were on a 173. All the damage had been done, you needed your best bowler to be coming back and take some wickets in that period and I think they missed a trick there bringing him back only in the 13th over,” Smith said before adding: “I think he (Hardik) got a few things wrong, and that was the main one for me. I mean you can’t have one of the best bowlers in the world bowling 1 over.”

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya and Gujarat Titans' captain Shubman Gill during the toss for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans, at Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya and Gujarat Titans’ captain Shubman Gill during the toss for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans, at Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad. (PTI)

Smith went on to elaborate how Hardik’s tactics with Bumrah in the SRH vs MI game had been fatal for the team.

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“When the ball is going around like that, you’ve just got to bring your best bowler back earlier than you would have liked. It’s just about adapting on the go and I’d have almost bowled Bumrah out by the 15th, 16th over! Try to get some wickets, if he gets wickets, you slow the rate down anyway. If the guy is batting at the end, doesn’t matter who is bowling, we saw that really with Bumrah in the last two overs and he still got smacked with the bat at the back end. So if he came back earlier and had taken some risks, things would have been really different and they got 277 and they could have been reduced to 240 and might have chased those down, so I was just perplexed that he bowled only 1 over up until the 13th over,” Smith said.

Irfan Pathan says Hardik Pandya’s captaincy was ‘ordinary’

After their opening game defeat against the Gujarat Titans, this was the second defeat in a row for Mumbai Indians.

Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan was also scathing in his remarks about Hardik’s captaincy.

“The captaincy of Hardik Pandya has been ordinary to say the least. Keeping Bumrah away for too long when the carnage was on was beyond my understanding,” tweeted Irfan.

He then also pointed out that Hardik had been slow off the blocks in Mumbai’s chase.

“If the whole team is playing with the strike of 200, Captain can’t bat with the batting strike rate of 120,” he posted on X.

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