Rohit Sharma shared a monochromatic post announcing his return to Mumbai Indians three months after his unexpected removal from captaincy.

Exactly three months and four days after Rohit Sharma was unexpectedly removed as the captain of Mumbai Indians ahead of the IPL 2024, the former skipper returned to the franchise camp in preparation for the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma (Image source: Twitter)

The five-time champions named Hardik Pandya, acquired from Gujarat Titans via trade, as the new skipper. The decision was widely criticized by both fans of the franchise and veteran cricketers, making it the focal point for Mumbai in the lead-up to the tournament. However, despite the external criticisms, Rohit returned to the franchise to gear up for the 17th season of the IPL, although he announced it through a post without any caption.

It was midway through the 2013 season when Rohit was handed over the captaincy duty after Australian legend Ricky Ponting stepped down from the role following a poor run of form with the bat. The veteran India opener led the franchise until 2023, during which Mumbai lifted the IPL title five times, the most by any team during the period.

Earlier last month, MI coach Mark Boucher explained that it was purely a “cricketing decision” to make Hardik the skipper while admitting that there was no easy way to remove Rohit from the leadership role.

“He hasn’t had probably the best couple of seasons of late with the bat but he’s done well as a captain,” Boucher said on Smash Sports podcast. “He is still going to captain India so that hype’s gonna be there but when he steps into the IPL maybe just taking that extra bit of pressure off him as a captain and maybe we get the best out of Rohit Sharma. We want to see him playing with a smile on his face, spending a bit of time with his beautiful family. I think there’s no easy way to do it.”

The clip of Boucher’s explanation, which was shared on Instagram, drew response from Rohit’s wife Ritika Sajdeh, who dismissed it saying: “So many things wrong with this,” thus sparking a fresh controversy.

However, keeping all controversies and speculations of a rift in the Mumbai Indians dressing room aside, Mumbai returned to MI camp on Tuesday to begin preparing for the tournament, which will be followed by the T20 World Cup in June. Sharing pictures from his training session, which included a black and white image, Rohit posted a caption-less tweet. Mumbai also shared a video of Rohit’s net session, where he looked comfortable in smashing the ball all around the ground.

Will it be ‘awkward’ for Hardik to captain Rohit? Speaking about the pre-tournament chatter around the MI camp and whether there will be a feeling of awkwardness for Hardik to captain Rohit, the India all-rounder reckoned that he will have the veteran opener’s backing throughout the season with Mumbai eyeing the start of a new era.

“It won’t be any different, because he will be there to help out if I need his help…” Hardik said on Monday. “He is the captain of the Indian team, which helps me because what this team has achieved, it has achieved under him. From now onwards, it will be about carrying forward what he has achieved, so there will be nothing awkward. I have played for 10 years under him and I know he is going to have his hand on my shoulders throughout the season.”

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