EXCLUSIVE – ‘We have seen Sachin Tendulkar play under MS Dhoni…’: Sreesanth on Rohit Sharma playing under Hardik Pandya in IPL | Cricket News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: When Hardik Pandya assumed the role of captain for the Mumbai Indians, replacing the experienced Rohit Sharma, the decision faced widespread criticism.
Under Pandya’s leadership, the new Mumbai Indians struggled, finding themselves at the bottom of the points table with three consecutive defeats.
Former India pacer S Sreesanth, a member of India’s victorious teams in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup, believes that Rohit will excel in IPL 2024 now that he is relieved of the captaincy duties.
TimesofIndia.com caught up with Sreesanth, who played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs, and 10 T20Is for India between 2005 and 2011, and spoke about the IPL 2024 title favourites, Rohit playing under Hardik, MS Dhoni‘s last season, RCB’s title drought, and much more…
Who do you see lifting the title this time?
This is the most difficult question to answer because every team spends so much time and money on the players ahead of the start of the IPL, during the IPL, and post-IPL too. Every team is looking solid and are favourites. All have plans and strategies in their minds. But Rajasthan Royals lifting the cup and watching Sanju Samson guiding the team to the title win will be awesome to see. I want to see him perform really really well and make it to the T20 World Cup. Everyone is talking about Rishabh Pant who has an amazing comeback story but I want to see Sanju making it to the World Cup squad too. Apart from RR, Gujarat Titans, Chennai Super Kings, and Mumbai Indians are the favourites to lift the trophy this time.
Your experience as IPL commentator in Malayalam…
I am very excited about the commentary in Malayalam this time. Last year also, I did the same. It was really an eye-opening experience for me. I was so delighted and happy to talk in my own language and express the game of cricket. This is a different and amazing experience.
Do you think Rohit Sharma is not comfortable playing under new captain Hardik Pandya?
We have seen the god of cricket, the great Sachin Tendulkar play under Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). We won the World Cup too. A lot of stories are being told about Rohit Sharma playing under new captain Hardik Pandya but Rohit would love to play freely. As far as I know Rohit, he would look to bat freely, without any captaincy burden, and may take the Orange Cap too. He is going to have a great season. He has led Mumbai Indians from the front but I am sure Rohit is going to lead Mumbai Indians from the back.
We will see the mega IPL auction next year. There are reports that CSK might consider Rohit Sharma next season. Your take?
I would say let’s be ready for the change and accept the change. For whatever franchisee he will play, Rohit is going to be the same. I am sure he must be going through difficult times personally but I am very confident that he will take it in his stride and will come out as a champ. Rohit is going to score heavily this season.
Will this be MS Dhoni’s last season?
Everyone is saying and talking about Dhoni’s last year. The way he is playing, his fitness, his work behind the wickets, it doesn’t look like. He is looking much more prepared and fit this season. With his long hair back, it seems we are watching the Dhoni of the early 2000s. I have seen him during the practice sessions too. He had those looks when he was about to play for India A. I am talking about 2002 and 2003. He is much fitter than before. We all spoke about him batting at number 4 or 5. I would love to see him bat on the top and take the opposition to the cleaners.
Despite having a star-studded batting line-up, RCB have never won a title…
RCB have a star-studded line-up. Virat and Faf are there. Magician Maxwell is there. Such a powerful side RCB are. Virat, Faf, and even Maxwell are capable of scoring huge runs. They have done this in the past and will do so this time too. RCB are one of the favourites to win the title. Virat and Faf are going to score huge runs. When you have a strong team, it is really difficult to plan. Maybe we see Rajasthan Royals facing RCB in the final and RR winning the cup. RCB can do well.
Rishabh Pant has made a solid comeback…
I know Rishabh personally. He is a fighter and a great human being. When he was recovering, he looked very very focused. It is not easy to make a comeback like this and lead a side. He is not taking this IPL as a challenge. He is taking this IPL as an opportunity. We all are proud of him. He is not going to give his best in the IPL, he will be the best.
Once the IPL 2024 finishes, the T20 World Cup will kick off in the space of a couple of days. You take on the workload management of players?
When you are playing in the IPL, your franchise expects a lot from you. Similarly, your country also expects a lot from you. Every individual in the IPL is smart enough to pick and choose. They know which games are important and which are not. With so much medical advice and technology available, I don’t think any player should be worried about injuries. They need to follow certain routines and regimes to keep themselves fit and afresh. I don’t believe in this word called ‘workload management’. Just go play cricket, sleep well, eat well, train well, and exercise well. Just be fit and go play the World Cup and fetch the cup for us.

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