Why Hardik Pandya Shouldn’t Be Picked For India’s T20 World Cup 2024 Squad | Cricket News

Hardik Pandya’s possible inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad has sparked debate among cricket experts and fans of late. The 30-year-old has been a major talking point during the first three weeks of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Ever since Pandya was announced as Mumbai Indians’ new captain in place of India’s all-format skipper Rohit Sharma ahead of IPL 2024, the controversial decision has received widespread disappointment from fans.

MI’s newly-appointed captain has been booed heavily at various stadiums, including at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad as well at Mumbai’s home ground – the Wankhede Stadium.

Furthermore, MI started their IPL 2024 campaign with three consecutive losses under Hardik’s leadership although the five-time IPL winners have bounced back with back-to-back wins in their next two games.

Fitness and finishing ability concerns

Apart from Hardik’s captaincy, his all-round form and finishing ability have been under scanner in the ongoing IPL.

Indian cricket team’s limited-overs vice-captain, Hardik has scored 129 runs in five matches for MI this season.

The hard-hitting batter showed glimpses of regaining form after he slammed an unbeaten 21 runs off just six balls against Royals Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) to help MI chase down 197 in just 15.3 overs at the Wankhede on Thursday.

Additionally, there have been questions about Hardik’s fitness for ICC’s marquee T20 tournament.

The Indian all-rounder has endured his fair share of fitness concerns over the years and has cut down on his workload with the ball to get the best out of him from an all-round perspective.

The Gujarat-born cricketer has bowled just eight overs in five matches in IPL 2024, picking just a solitary wicket at an economy of 11.13.

Hardik recently made a comeback in IPL 2024 after he was ruled out of ICC ODI World Cup 2023 having sustained an ankle injury against Bangladesh in October.

The Rohit Sharma-led India, of course, will need a fully-fit Hardik at the T20 World Cup 2024 to be held in the West Indies and the United States.

In-form Shivam Dube could pip Hardik Pandya

While Hardik’s all-round capabilities provide Team India great balance in the T20 format, if he’s not fully fit then the likes of Shivam Dube and Rinku Singh could be better picks as finishers in India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad.

Former India fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad has voiced support for Shivam Dube’s inclusion in the upcoming T20 World Cup squad.

“Shivam Dube for his striking ability against spinners, Surya for being the best T20 international batter and Rinku Singh for his exceptional finishing ability. It will be great if India finds a way to have these 3 in the 11 in the T20 WC. With Virat and Rohit, this will leave a spot for just a keeper batsman. Interesting to see how it pans out,” Prasad posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Chennai Super Kings’ Shivam Dube has been in impressive form in IPL 2024. Batting in the middle-order, Dube has amassed 176 runs in five matches at an average of 44 and a strike rate of 160. He has hit 10 fours and 13 sixes so far.

Apart from Prasad, former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has stated that Dube must be included in India’s T20 World Cup squad.

“Good to watch@IamShivamDube clearing the field with ease!! I feel he has to be in the World Cup squad. Has got the skill to be the #gamechanger,” Yuvraj wrote on X.

Earlier, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin urged India to pick Dube in the T20 World Cup squad after his brilliant performances against Afghanistan in a three-match series in January.

“Hardik Pandya is an indispensable member of the Indian team. However, with Shivam Dube’s emergence, especially in conditions similar to CSK in the West Indies, he becomes a spin-hitting monster,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

“I can proudly call him a ‘Yuvraj Singh lite’ package. There are so many facets of Yuvraj Singh that I see in his game – the downswing, the height, and the reach. I’m not saying he’s exactly like Yuvraj Singh, but he reminds me a lot of him. The beauty here is that he hits spin straight down the ground,” Ashwin added.

With Hardik facing strong competition from Shivam Dube, he will need to prove his fitness as well as impress the selectors with his all-round game in the remaining games for MI before the squad is finalised.

The Indian cricket team’s 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup is likely to be announced in the last week of April and vice-captain Hardik’s spot still remains uncertain as of now.

While a return to form and maintaining his fitness will most likely see Hardik make the cut for the T20 World Cup, judging by the all-rounder’s recent form when batting in death overs as well as his fitness issues, it’s safe to say that the 30-year-old’s inclusion in the squad is certainly not a given.

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