Rohit Sharma was called “shameless” and a “fraud” by fans on social media after Punjab Kings (PBKS) owner Preity Zinta ended days of speculation about various reports wherein she allegedly mentioned that she would pull all strings to appoint the former Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper as captain of her side. 


She has now described the reports as “fake, baseless, and in bad taste”.

“Fake news! All these articles are completely fake & baseless. I hold Rohit Sharma in very high regard & am a big fan of his, but I have never discussed him in any interview nor made this STATEMENT!” Preity Zinta wrote in her statement posted on her X account.


“I also have a lot of respect for Shikhar Dhawan & he being currently injured, makes these articles appear in very poor taste. These articles are a perfect example of how misinformation is picked up without any verification & circulated online. I humbly request all Media to refrain from circulating this & embarrassing all concerned parties?? All I want to say is that we have a great team currently & our only focus is to win games & make the most out of IPL2024,” the Bollywood starlet added. 

Following Preity Zinta's statement, cricket fans began trolling Rohit Sharma, accusing him of running “fake PR” campaigns to gain sympathy and plot a move to shift to another IPL team.


It is worth remembering that Rohit Sharma was sacked from the leadership of Mumbai Indians ahead of the ongoing edition of the IPL, with the franchise's management appointing Hardik Pandya to helm the side in his place.


Since then speculation has been rife about Rohit Sharma's next move, with fans urging him to leave the Mumbai Indians, a team he led for a decade, helping them win five trophies in the elite T20 competition.


However, the results of the side in IPL 2024 have been poor, with the former five-time champions languishing in the bottom four on the table.


Additionally, former cricketers have not only raised questions about Hardik Pandya's captaincy. His poor batting and bowling are another factor behind his downfall among the public.


Hardik Pandya's overall figures in the IPL 2024 don't look impressive at all – he's managed to score only 141 runs at a mediocre average of 23.50 with the highest score of 39 in the seven matches he's played in the tournament so far.


In the bowling department, the Gujarat-born all-rounder has hardly bowled and when he has taken up the ball, he has gone for plenty of runs.


He has picked just four wickets in seven games but what would be worrying the Mumbai Indians management is his economy rate. In the 15 overs, Hardik Pandya has bowled, he has been virtually clobbered by opposition batters, allowing them to cherry-pick him for sixes and boundaries. The result is that he has given away runs at 11 per over.


It is worth highlighting that Hardik Pandya has been booed in almost every match Mumbai Indians has played in the tournament this year, something former England captain Kevin Pietersen feels was hurting him mentally.

“It's clearly affecting Hardik. I've seen how crazy it's gone all over social media. And having been right in the mix of this 10 years ago when I left the England team and all the nonsense that was happening there, being booed at home, being a villain in the streets, going into restaurants and people look at you funny, this affects you away from the game of cricket,” Kevin Pietersen told the broadcasters. 

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma was back in his old avatar of skipper in his last IPL game for the Mumbai Indians.


Not only did Rohit Sharma marshal his troops well but also played a crucial role in guiding the Mumbai Indians to a third win in seven matches in the current edition of the IPL.  


After putting 192/7 on the board and rattling the opposition's top order, thanks to Jasprit Bumrah's two early wickets, Mumbai Indians were on course to secure a comprehensive win over the Punjab Kings before Ashutosh Sharma's sensational knock of 61 off 28 balls put the Punjab Kings back in contention.


As the visitors began to lose their grip on the game, Rohit Sharma took over captaincy duties from Hardik Pandya and even when he returned to the field, it was the former who was largely involved in setting up the fields for the Punjab Kings' batters.


Rohit Sharma's return to captaincy albeit for a brief period was much appreciated by former Team India spinner Harbhajan Singh.

“The one good thing I saw today – Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah were consulting each other. In the last two overs, I saw Rohit Sharma was captaining Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma was setting the field, talking to the bowlers and was back in his old avatar as a skipper. Mumbai Indians ended up winning the game but there is a long road ahead for them and it is not going to be easy,” Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel.