Good things come to an end to make way for better things in life. Perhaps, of all the days, today is not the day ardent followers of Mumbai Indians would want to remind themselves of this statement. On a quite Friday evening, with India’s T20I series over, Australia’s Day 2 play against Pakistan done and India women comfortably ahead at stumps on second day against England, Mumbai Indians sent world cricket into overdrive after announcing Hardik Pandya as their new skipper, thus marking the end of Rohit Sharma’s 10-year-long captaincy tenure.

Rohit Sharma is the first captain to win five IPL trophies before MS Dhoni levelled the tally in 2023

There was much speculation over the matter moments after Hardik was traded back to Mumbai earlier this month. He was let gone by the franchise in 2022, when Gujarat Titans had roped him in as their captain. Hardik then led the franchise to a title win in their inaugural season in 2022 before finishing as runner-up in 2023. The 30-year-old’s return to his old franchise did spark captaincy rumours and it was eventually made official on Friday.

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As Rohit bids adieu to his time as skipper of the Mumbai Indians, we take a look at some of the crucial numbers that have defined his captaincy legacy in IPL history.

Was there ever a better replacement?

Not many players would be willing to sacrifice his spot, to make way for a better option, especially one of legendary status, who was roped in for the very purpose of leading the side. But midway through the 2013 season, Ricky Ponting had taken that tough call to step down after managing just 52 runs in the five innings he played as the captain which comprised of three single-digit scores, including a six-ball duck. Eventually, post the sixth game of that season against Delhi (Daredevils), Ponting relinquished his position as Rohit, who had joined Mumbai Indians back from Deccan Chargers in 2011 for US$2 million, stepped up. And Mumbai never looked back.

MI lost just two of their next nine games en route to the playoffs. They stuttered against Chennai Super Kings before beating 2008 winners Rajasthan Royals in the second Qualifier and later avenged their defeat against MS Dhoni’s men in the final to clinch the first of their five trophies. They also won in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

With their last title win in 2020, Mumbai had become the first ever IPL side to lift the trophy five times and second team in history to defend the crown successfully after CSK in 2011.

But was there ever a better replacement for Ponting? The answer was and probably is still a resounding no.

In 2022, when Indian cricket was the midst of who should be Virat Kohli’s successor as Team India captain, Ponting had backed Rohit and in his bid, recalled his chart with the Mumbai Indians management back in 2013 when the franchise were desperately in search of a new skipper. “I was at Mumbai Indians when Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy there,” the Australia legend had told ICC. “I was bought in the auction to be their captain and unfortunately, I wasn’t playing well enough after the first few games to keep myself in the team, so I had to make room for another international player to come into the side.”

“The owners and the team management wanted to know who I thought would be the appropriate person to take over the leadership at the Mumbai Indians. There were a few names thrown around between owners and the other coaches but it was really clear to me that there was only one guy that can lead the team – he was a young guy and his name happened to be Rohit Sharma.”

More successful than MS Dhoni?

During Rohit’s period as the captain of Mumbai Indians, from April 24 of 2013 till date, no other skipper has led an franchise to more IPL wins than the India star. He stands atop with 87 victories in 158 matches. Dhoni stands second with 82 wins in 141 games, of which five wins came in 14 appearances as the captain of presently-defunct Rising Pune Super Giants in 2016 season.

Not to forget, Rohit led MI to five titles during this period. Dhoni, once again, stands second on this list with three wins as a captain – 2018, 2021, 2023.

Rohit also has more victories as a captain in IPL playoff games (including finals), with 10 wins in 13 such matches, one more than the CSK legend (9 out of 15). And MI never lost an IPL final under Rohit in five of those 13 instances where they made it to the ultimate stage of a season.

Breakdown of Rohit’s batting numbers as a captain

The 36-year-old ends his captaincy tenure as the third-highest run-getter among IPL skipper, with 3986 runs in 157 innings. He stands behind Virat Kohli’s 4994 runs in 143 appearances as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore between 2011 and 2023, and Dhoni’s tally of 4660 runs in 196 innings. However, when the stakes were bigger, Rohit faltered. In the 13 innings he batted in playoff matches (including final), he managed only two fifties, while recording seven single-digit scores to amass just 227 runs in such games.