How Hardik Pandya looms large on India T20 World Cup squad?

How Hardik Pandya looms large on India T20 World Cup squad?

The upcoming weeks will be crucial for Hardik, as he strives to prove his critics wrong and become a valuable asset for India's T20 World Cup campaign.

The press conference regarding India’s T20 World Cup squad on Thursday was a tense affair, with the shadow of Hardik Pandya looming large over the proceedings. And don’t be surprised if this trend continues into the ICC T20 WC.

Rohit Sharma delayed arrival sets tone

India captain Rohit Sharma‘s fashionably late arrival, nearly an hour after the scheduled time, hinted at a sense of unease surrounding the team selection. His wry smile as he settled in for questioning seemed to suggest a preference for being elsewhere.

Hardik Pandya: Unnamed Elephant in room

The very first question directed at Rohit Sharma focused on the captaincy situation, particularly regarding Hardik Pandya. Ajit Agarkar, chairman of the selection committee, defended the decision, emphasizing Rohit’s proven leadership qualities and strong performance in the recent ODI World Cup.

Justifying Hardik Pandya inclusion

The topic of Hardik Pandya kept resurfacing throughout the press conference. Questions arose concerning his lengthy absence from international cricket due to injury, his questionable current form, and his suitability for the vice-captaincy role.

Both Rohit Sharma and Ajit Agarkar felt compelled to defend Hardik Pandya’s place in the T20 World Cup squad.

Change of Course: Back to Familiar Territory

Just a few months ago, Hardik Pandya was seen as a potential leader for a new generation of Indian cricketers. However, the BCCI selectors seem to have had a change of heart, opting for a more experienced core that has been successful since 2021.

Hardik Pandya adapts

This shift in strategy means Hardik Pandya will once again find himself under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, despite a brief period where he was expected to take on the leadership role himself.

Ajit Agarkar expressed unwavering support for Pandya, stating that he is irreplaceable for his bowling ability.

India spin department strategy

The press conference also shed light on the team’s spin attack selection. While the possibility of adding an off-spinner for greater variety was discussed, the final decision favored two left-arm spinners – Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. This choice was based on their recent form and the potential for early morning matches in the West Indies that might favor spin bowling.

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Hardik Pandya role: All-rounder expected to deliver

Both Rohit Sharma and Ajit Agarkar emphasized the crucial role all-rounders like Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube will play in the upcoming World Cup. They expect these players to replicate their strong performances from the IPL, contributing with both bat and ball whenever called upon.

Ajit Agarkar acknowledged that Pandya’s fitness is paramount to his success. His performance in the IPL thus far has been encouraging, and the selectors are hopeful this trend will continue.

Unresolved Questions Linger

While the press conference provided some clarity on the team selection, lingering questions remain about Hardik Pandya’s ability to regain peak form and justify his place in the squad. The upcoming weeks will be crucial for him, as he strives to prove his critics wrong and become a valuable asset for India’s T20 World Cup campaign.


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