The news of Hardik Pandya rejoining Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season caused ripples in the cricket community. Hardik Pandya was the skipper of GT in the past two seasons and on both occasions, he led them to the final. The franchise won their maiden title in 2021 and the next year, they finished runners-up after losing to Chennai Super Kings in the final. However, Pandya completed a shocking trade to MI – his former team – ahead of the new season and India fast bowler Mohammed Shami had a clear verdict on the incident.
In an interview, Mohammed Shami was asked about the whole ‘chapter’ with Hardik Pandya no longer the GT captain.
“Kisike jane se kisiko farak nahi padta (See, it doesn’t matter who is leaving). You have to see the team’s balance. Hardik was there, he captained us well. He took us to the final in both editions and we won once. But Gujarat hadn’t signed Hardik for a lifetime. It’s his decision to stay or leave. Shubman is made captain now, he will also gain experience. Some day, he might also leave. And it’s a part of the game. Players come and go,” Shami told News24.
“When you become captain, it’s important to handle the responsibility while taking care of your performances. And that responsibility has been assigned to Shubman this time. He might have some load in his mind, but the players are more or less the same. So he doesn’t need to worry. You need to manage players well and extract the best out of your players,” he added.
Earlier, Shami, archers Ojas Pravin Deotale, Sheetal Devi, and Aditi Gopichand Swami, and wrestler Antim Panghal are among the stars who received the Arjuna Award at Rashtrapati Bhawan by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.
The Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest athletic honour, is given for good performance over a period of the previous four years and for showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and a sense of discipline.
Overall, 17 athletes have received the Arjuna Awards for their performances in 2023, including tar speedster Shami, who ended as the leading wicket-taker in last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India with 24 scalps and broke several records.
The veteran pacer, a day prior to the ceremony, expressed happiness for the coveted accolade and said even after many years of hard work, people are not able to win this award.
“This award is a dream; life passes and people are not able to win this award. I am happy that I have been nominated for this award. It is like a dream for me to get this award because my whole life I have seen many people receiving this award,” Mohammed Shami had told ANI.
(With ANI inputs)