Watch: Hardik Pandya Sets Up Temple Inside Mumbai Indians Dressing Room, Mark Boucher Breaks Coconut

For the first time since leaving Mumbai Indians there years ago, Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya returned to the franchise’s dressing room ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season starting on March 22 this year. Hardik, who was traded-in from the Gujarat Titans a few months, ago, has been in the headlines because of the franchise’s decision to appoint him the captain, in place of the talismanic Rohit Sharma. As Hardik first stepped into the MI camp, ahead of the new season, he installed a temple in the dressing room, while head coach Mark Boucher broke coconut.

In a video posted by Mumbai Indians (MI) official X (formerly Twitter) handle, Pandya was seen entering the MI dressing room and performing a pooja along with head coach Mark Boucher.

In November last year, Pandya moved back from Gujarat Titans (GT) to his former franchise as part of a trade between both franchises. The star all-rounder spent two momentous years with GT, spearheading their campaign in the cash-rich league with aplomb. In GT’s debut season in 2022, Hardik got them off to a fairytale start, with the team lifting the coveted trophy.

In 31 matches for GT, Pandya scored 833 runs at an average of 37.86 and a strike rate of over 133, with six half-centuries and a best score of 87*. He also took 11 wickets for the team, with the best figures of 3/17.

Pandya also played 92 matches for MI from 2015-2021, scoring 1,476 runs at an average of 27.33 at a strike rate of over 153, with four half-centuries and best score of 91. He also took 42 wickets for the team, with the best bowling figures of 3/20. Pandya has won five IPL trophies, four with MI (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020) and GT (2022).

The 17th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will start from March 22, with defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) set to clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a South Indian derby at their home arena–MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Last year’s runners-up Gujarat Titans and five-time champions Mumbai Indians will square off against each other in a mouth-watering clash on March 24 at Ahmedabad. The fixture has gained a lot of hype because of star all-rounder Pandya’s move to his former franchise MI following two great seasons with GT. Shubman Gill has taken over the captaincy of GT.

Mumbai Indians (MI) IPL 2024 squad:Rohit Sharma, Dewald Brevis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Vishnu Vinod, Arjun Tendulkar, Shams Mulani, Nehal Wadhera

Jasprit Bumrah, Kumar Kartikeya, Piyush Chawla, Akash Madhwal, Jason Behrendorff, Hardik Pandya (traded from GT), Romario Shepherd (traded from LSG), Gerald Coetzee, Dilshan Madushanka, Shreyas Gopal, Nuwan Thushara, Naman Dhir, Anshul Kamboj, Mohammad Nabi, Shivalik Sharma.

With ANI inputs

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