Monday, June 17, 2024

Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya put MI controversy behind, engage in duel at nets ahead of India vs Ireland T20 WC match

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One of the major concerns for the Indian team, besides picking a winning combination for the T20 World Cup, revolved around their two senior cricketers and the leaders in the side. The last few months have not been kind towards Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya. Besides their inconsistent show in IPL 2024, as Mumbai Indians finished bottom of the table, Rohit lost his captaincy, while Hardik faced the wrath of the fans, both on and off the field, owing to the franchise’s shocking decision. And if that was not enough, speculations were rife throughout the IPL season that all was not well between Hardik and Rohit, who did not see eye to eye in the dressing room, resulting in MI being divided into two separate units.

Rohit Sharma faced Hardik Pandya at the nets ahead of India vs Ireland T20 World Cup match(@Vimalwa/X)

With India all set to kick off their T20 World Cup campaign on Wednesday, with Rohit as skipper and Hardik as deputy, head coach Rahul Dravid will have a tough task in getting the two to move on from the MI saga. And it seemed they took their first step towards uniting in the common cause to get India to win the World Cup as Hardik was spotted bowling full throttle at the nets against Rohit on Monday.

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Earlier on Sunday, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan urged Dravid not to bring up the IPL topic in the dressing room in handling the Hardik-Rohit situation and rather advised him to create a sense of belief in the all-rounder on his importance in the line-up and in India going the distance in the T20 World Cup tournament.

“I will not even discuss this. Whatever happened has happened. I will just say that this is my expectation from you: I want you to win matches for India. This is the roadmap, and you are an important part of the team and a match-winner. Being an all-rounder, I will say he will play a crucial role. How many fast bowlers have we taken? Just three specialist bowlers, besides Hardik and Shivam Dube. So when the time comes, these 3-4 overs will become very crucial. Remember, he will allow us to play an extra spinner in West Indies when we play day games. So this is where he comes into the picture, he needs to feel good and believe that he can make a contribution and hence the conversation of the IPL should not be even happening even once,” Pathan told Star Sports.

This was India’s first practice session since playing the warm-up game against Bangladesh at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on Saturday where the Men in Blue won by 60 runs. India were given a rest on the following day as Sri Lanka and South Africa took over the practice venue at Cantiague Park for their World Cup opener on Monday.

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