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Rohit Sharma likely to retire from T20Is after T20 World Cup, Hardik Pandya picked in India squad on ‘pressure’: Report

A latest report claims a couple of monumental developments on Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

Rohit Sharma could be playing his final few T20Is for India amidst reports that the India captain will likely retire from T20Is at the end of the T20 World Cup. As per a report carried out by Dainik Jagran, Rohit could bid adieu to the shortest format, with the impending decision directly linked to Hardik Pandya’s selection in India’s T20 World Cup squad. It also states that the reason Hardik secured a place in India’s 15-member squad is not because of his performances, but purely the fact that the BCCI is looking at the all-rounder as India’s future T20I captain, which propelled the selectors to not only pick him for the T20 World Cup but also appoint him the vice-captain.

Mumbai Indians’ captain Hardik Pandya (R) and Rohit Sharma during a match in IPL 2024(PTI)

Things between Rohit and Hardik at Mumbai Indians aren’t exactly the smoothest. The decision to remove Rohit as captain and give Hardik the leadership has more than come with its fair share of risks. Hardik’s trade back to MI in October last year, having led Gujarat Titans to consecutive finals, was an all-cash deal. Still, the real bombshell dropped on December 15, when the five-time champions announced Pandya’s appointment as captain, bringing Rohit’s 10-year reign to an abrupt end.

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The belief is that not just the crowd but also the players haven’t warmed up to Hardik. The report also mentions that while the overseas players have no problem with Hardik as their captain, the domestic talents continue to look up to Rohit. The Indian Express had recently mentioned that after MI became the first team to be eliminated from the race to the Playoffs, Hardik’s captaincy was discussed, and how the same led to a freefalling IPL 2024 campaign for the five-time champions, with Rohit and Jasprit Bumrah talking about it. Besides, the episode where Hardik threw Tilak Varma under the bus despite the youngster’s fighting knock against Punjab Kings rubbed many players – especially the younger lot – the wrong way.

After Michael Clarke claimed that the Mumbai Indians seem to be divided into two camps, Jagran’s report adds fuel to the fire, stating that Rohit and Hardik, despite being cordial on the field, are not seeing eye-to-eye. This was visible ahead of MI’s away game against Kolkata Knight Riders when Hardik was nowhere to be seen during Rohit’s practice. After Rohit was done knocking and stood beside the ice box, the likes of Tilak and Suryakumar Yadav underwent their drill. However, the players took off when it was Hardik’s turn to practice.

Rohit, Ajit Agarkar not in favour of Hardik Pandya’s T20 World Cup selection

In another explosive claim, the report adds that when India’s 15-member squad was being finalised for the T20 World Cup, neither Rohit nor Ajit Agarkar and the BCCI selection panel wanted Hardik to make the cut. However, they had to succumb to the ‘pressure’. What this pressure was and whom it came from wasn’t mentioned. However, this ‘pressure’ stems from the belief that the upper brass within the BCCI looks up to Hardik as India’s future captain – at least in T20Is.

After India crashed out of the 2022 T20 World Cup following a 10-wicket loss to England in the semi-final, Rohit and Virat Kohli entered T20I hibernation to focus on ODIs for the 2023 World Cup in India. And while they were away, the team’s command in T20Is was given to Hardik. He captained India in New Zealand and against the Kiwis and Sri Lanka at home. It was believed that Hardik would fully take over as India’s T20I captaincy and that Rohit and Kohli had played their last T20I for India, indicating an informal retirement from the format. However, the theory was banished when Jay Shah announced that Rohit and Kohli had returned for the T20I series against Afghanistan at home. Everything was back to square one.

Rohit likely to quit T20Is after T20 World Cup

Hardik’s selection in the World Cup squad and as India’s vice-captain also concerns Rohit’s future in T20 internationals. At 37, Rohit’s best days, at least in T20Is, are more behind him than ahead. He has played just three T20Is since November of 2022, registering two ducks and a century. He even began IPL 2024 for MI on a positive note, peeling off a century albeit in a losing cause, but the manner in which Rohit’s form has nosedived in the last sixes games – with scores of 6, 8, 4, 11, 4 and 19, has run alarm bells not just in the MI camp but promises to do so in the Indian set-up too.

Hardik hasn’t exactly blossomed either in the IPL 2024. With 200 runs and 11 wickets, Hardik has been far from his best. His last two seasons with Gujarat Titans had yielded a combined tally of 833 runs and 11 wickets, which catapulted Hardik into superstardom and a return to the franchise he began with nine years ago. But with Hardik struggling for form as well, how safe a bet it will be for India to invest in him as their T20I leader remains a gamble.


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