Pandya's form mirrors Mumbai woes in wretched IPL season

AFP / Indranil Mukherjee

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians finished their woeful season with yet another defeat on Friday, with captain Hardik Pandya's performance a reflection of their struggles in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Mumbai are one of the two teams to have won five IPL titles, all of them under Rohit Sharma, who was replaced by all-rounder Pandya in a shock leadership change this year.

As the team hurtled from one defeat to another, fans started booing Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans in the last two seasons, even in their home matches at the Wankhede Stadium.

Pandya, who is expected to play a key role in India's T20 World Cup campaign next month as the team's preferred seam-bowling all-rounder, finished the IPL season with 216 runs at an average of 18 and 11 wickets.

The 30-year-old was jeered again on Friday as Mumbai signed off their campaign with their 10th loss to finish at the bottom of the 10-team league.

"It wasn't great hearing all the boos," Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher said after their loss against Lucknow Super Giants.

"I felt sorry for Hardik... It's never nice to go through something like that. So yeah, there are certain things we need to address. And we are going to address them."

Pandya's uninspiring captaincy also drew criticism, which, Boucher said, might have affected the all-rounder.

"I think that if (Pandya) was here, he'd also be disappointed in his performances," he said.

"From a captain's perspective, I thought he had some good games. There's a lot of stuff going on around him that maybe clouded his thoughts every now and again, which I said is tough for him as a leader as well."

Pandya will miss the first match next season, regardless of which team he represents, after Mumbai's slow over rate on Friday, the third such offence this year, earned him a one-match suspension.

Speculation is rife that India captain Rohit would move to a new franchise. Boucher did not provide any clarity.

"To be honest, there haven't been many conversations about Rohit's future," the South African said.

"For me, he is the master of his own destiny. It's a big auction next season; who knows what's going to happen? We'll just have to take each day as it comes."

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