Mark Boucher defends Hardik’s leadership post a disastrous season

(Cricket News) Mumbai Indians’ head coach, Mark Boucher reflected on Mumbai’s disastrous season and backed skipper Hardik Pandya. Boucher said, Hardik himself would be very disappointed with his performance as a player and also as a captain.

 “I think if he was here, he’d also be disappointed in his performance,” the Mumbai Indians head coach said after their loss against the Super Giants at the Wankhede on Friday night. He also added that Hardik has got all the support of the Mumbai Indians dressing room.

“From a captain’s perspective, I thought he had some good games. There’s a lot of stuff going on around him that may have clouded his thoughts which is tough on him as a leader as well. He certainly had a lot of support within our dressing room and guys were trying to help him out,” the South African said.

“It’s a tough thing to go through as a player and there was a lot of sympathy for what he was going through. A lot of stuff that he was going through personally. I think it may be a little uncalled for and you know, it is what it is. It’ll certainly be a learning curve for Hardik in his growth in leadership.”

Hardik was given the role of the skipper of the Mumbai Indians this season, which surrounded a saga of controversy. He was traded in from the Gujarat Titans and was assigned the role ahead of 5-time championship winning skipper, Rohit. There was opposition from the fans and there were also constant reports about dressing room disquiet.

Hardik in his first season as Mumbai’s skipper, had a below par season both as a skipper and a player. Mumbai managed to win just 4 out of their 14 games, making it the franchise’s worst IPL season ever. As a batsman, Hardik managed an underwhelming 216 runs in 14 games at a lowly average of 18 and took 11 wickets at a none-too-impressive economy rate of 10.75.

“I think a couple of things will pass and they’ll make him a tougher leader and he’ll certainly grow in the role as well. So I still think there’s some fantastic things coming for Hardik Pandya as a leader. The cricketing side of things, you guys will know the stats,” Boucher added.

He also spoke up about the issue of booing that Pandya received from the stands wherever he went. “Yes, it wasn’t great hearing all the boos. I felt sorry for Hardik. It’s never nice to have to go through something like that. Yeah, there’s certain things that we need to address and as I said, we are going to address them. But now is not probably the right time. Everyone’s very disappointed and emotional, so no good decision will get made.”

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