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Former Indian cricket team spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed his anger at Mumbai Indians players for not accepting Hardik Pandya as their captain in IPL 2024. Hardik replaced Rohit Sharma as the MI skipper ahead of the new season but under his leadership, the team has slumped to three consecutive defeats. Following the loss against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, Hardik was seen sitting alone in the dugout – a picture that infuriated Harbhajan. The former cricketer said that Hardik has been left alone and the situation surrounding the team and the captaincy decision does not look good.

“The visuals are not looking good. He has been left alone. The players of the franchise should accept him as their captain. The decision has been made and the team should stick together. Having played for this franchise, the situation is not looking good,” Harbhajan said on Star Sports after the match.

Former MI star Ambati Rayudu, who was part of the discussion panel, asked whether the team members are making Hardik look “confused” and “not work freely”. Harbhajan responded that it seems like “big personalities in the dressing room” are not allowing Hardik to work freely as the captain.

“I don’t know whether it is intentional or unintentional but there are a lot of people in the team who are making him confused. The big personalities in the dressing room are not allowing him to work freely as a captain This is not the good situation to be in for any captain,” he added.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu believes that Rohit Sharma would not have been replaced by Hardik Pandya as Mumbai Indians captain had the BCCI named him skipper for the T20 World Cup last year itself.

Rohit was declared captain of India’s yet-to-be-named T20 World Cup squad in February this year by BCCI secretary Jay Shah at an event in Ahmedabad, a good two months after he was replaced by Pandya as MI skipper.

“If the BCCI had named Rohit as captain for the T20 World Cup in October, the franchise wouldn’t have chosen Hardik as captain. It’s a matter of the franchise’s respect. So, the actual issue here is timing,” Sidhu said in ‘Star Sports Press Room’.

Pandya has been facing hostility from fans in the ongoing IPL, booed in all three matches so far, including the one at MI’s home turf of Wankhede, besides ending up on the losing side.

Sidhu said the fans’ reaction is quite understandable as Rohit is a much-loved cricketer.

“Nobody can digest the fact that India’s hero, India’s captain, is not the captain of our franchise. ‘What wrong has he done?’ is what fans of the franchise would be thinking. But what does he have to do? “There is nothing that succeeds like success. If he had won these two matches, there wouldn’t have been any noise,” he pointed out.

(With PTI inputs)

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