Rohit Sharma, selectors set conditions for Hardik Pandya's spot in India's T20 World Cup squad

The all-rounder has shown subpar performances in IPL 2024 so far

By Web Desk
April 16, 2024
Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma. - ICC

India captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid, and chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar have set conditions for all-rounder Hardik Pandya's place in the squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup, as reported by The Indian Express.

They convened in Mumbai last week to deliberate over India's T20 World Cup squad, with the primary focus of the two-hour meeting during the midst of IPL 2024 being Pandya's inclusion in the World Cup squad.

Although there is some time left before the selectors finalise India's 15-member squad for the global event scheduled to be held in the USA and the West Indies immediately after the 17th edition of the IPL concludes, the Indian team management is apprehensive about Hardik's bowling fitness.

Under considerable pressure both on and off the field, the Mumbai Indians captain has been subpar in this season's IPL. Hardik Pandya has managed to score just 131 runs in six matches. Apart from a brisk innings against RCB where he scored an unbeaten 21 off just six balls, there have been doubts about his approach in the middle overs, where he has struggled to maintain the desired strike rate.

Rohit, Dravid, and Agarkar's primary concerns, however, revolve around his bowling. While many in the current Indian setup can fill Pandya's role as a batsman in T20s, not many can do so while reliably delivering four overs as the third seamer for the side. This is where Pandya stands out and brings balance to the XI.

However, he has been woefully out of form with the ball this season, lacking consistency and clarity. Moreover, Pandya has completed his full quota of overs only twice - in MI's first two matches against Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad - out of six matches played so far. He did not bowl a single over against Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals.

He was given the ball once again against Royal Challengers Bengaluru but bowled only one over. In MI's recent match against Chennai Super Kings, Pandya bowled three overs but was hit for three consecutive sixes by MS Dhoni in the final over.

In the 11 overs he has bowled in IPL 2024, he has managed to pick up only three wickets and conceded runs at a rate of 12 runs per over. While there doesn't appear to be any fitness-related issues with his bowling, his form is a cause for concern.

The selectors will only consider Pandya for the T20 World Cup if he consistently bowls well in the IPL.

If India decide not to select Pandya for the T20 World Cup, Shivam Dube seems to be the preferred choice. Dube has shown enough batting prowess to impress the selectors. As a left-handed batsman, he can provide impetus to the innings during the middle overs. Dube has not bowled in the 17th season.