Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar has said that he expected Rohit Sharma to hand over the Mumbai Indians captaincy to all-rounder Kieron Pollard, much like how Virat Kohli stepped down as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain. Manjrekar said that Rohit’s form with the bat in the IPL can improve if he plays without the added responsibility of being the captain.
“I feel Pollard still adds value. (Before the season) I even felt Rohit Sharma might leave captaincy like Virat Kohli, relax a bit, play as a pure batter and hand the responsibility to Pollard who is a brilliant international captain,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
Rohit has got off to a slow start this season, scoring just 108 runs in four innings. He has hit six sixes so far and it has come at a time when Mumbai Indians went on a run of five straight defeats in their opening matches of IPL 2022.
“His record has been like this for the last 3-4 seasons, average less than 30, strike-rate not 150 or 160. When he plays for India his numbers get better… because then he only thinks about himself and less about the team,” said Manjrekar.
“When playing IPL, he tries to play the anchor role similar to what KL Rahul did with Punjab Kings and Hardik Pandya did in the last match. If he plays freely, we’ll see the Rohit Sharma we see in Indian cricket,” Manjrekar added.
“Pollard still has the capability, I can see that from the sixes he hits. He’ll contribute in the pressure match, the crunch game. But they need to reach there first and that’s not on Pollard, it never has been. He’s never contributed throughout the season for Mumbai Indians. He plays one innings in a pressure game and sees the team through. Others need to work better because Pollard is doing his usual job,” he said.
Ahead of the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE, Kohli had announced that he would be stepping down as RCB captain at the end of the season. RCB are currently being led by former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.