The independent voice of cricket

Indian Premier League 2023

Explained: Why Rohit Sharma did not lead MI against KKR but still opened the batting?

Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 3 minute read

Rohit Sharma batted for Mumbai Indians in their IPL 2023 clash against Kolkata Knight Riders today (April 16) with Suryakumar Yadav leading the team after the former was not named in the original XI but was instead used as an Impact Player.

Viewers were left surprised after Yadav, rather than Sharma, walked out for the toss against KKR at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. Yadav was making his captaincy debut for the franchise stepping in for regular skipper Rohit, who held the role since taking over from Ricky Ponting mid-way through the 2013 season. Yadav confirmed that Rohit was missing out due to a “stomach bug” but what was interesting was that Rohit was named an Impact Player by the franchise. Their other impact players were Ramandeep Singh, Arshad Khan, Vishnu Vinod and Kartikeya Singh.

Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to bowl first.


After Kolkata ended on 185-6, Mumbai sprung another surprise as Rohit walked out to open the innings alongside Ishan Kishan. At first, it seemed a straightforward move to manage Rohit’s workload and avoid having him field in a year when the 50-over World Cup will be held. With the game being an afternoon clash, and with the temperature hovering around the 34 degrees celsius mark, it seemed a prudent to rest the 35-year-old from being out in the extreme heat. Rohit turns 36 on April 30.

If Rohit was indeed unfit and down with a stomach bug, it made sense to avoid aggravating his condition, and thus, rest him in the first innings. However, when it was clear that the right-hander was fit enough to bat, Mumbai made the most of their resources, subbing Rohit in for Riley Meredith after the second innings. Rohit ended up making a 13-ball 20 with one four and two sixes.

The game potentially gave an indication of MI’s future plans – that they consider 32-year-old Yadav as their next skipper. In the past, when Rohit skipped games due to various reasons for the franchise, Kieron Pollard would lead the team. However, with Pollard since announcing his IPL retirement and currently a member of the Mumbai Indians support staff, they are on the lookout for their next skipper.

There have been recent question marks over Rohit’s form in the IPL, with the opener’s strike rate not exceeding 135 since 2015.

His “omission” today was an interesting one, with Mumbai not only using the Impact Player rule in accordance with Rohit’s fitness but also making the most of the situation and testing out a leader for the future.

Mumbai ended up winning the game by five wickets.

To bet on the IPL with our Match Centre partners bet365, head here.

(12 kB)

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99