T20 World Cup 2024: Ajit Agarkar breaks silence on rumors of Hardik Pandya's sacking as vice-captain

Published - 02 May 2024, 06:17 PM | Updated - 02 May 2024, 06:20 PM

Hardik Pandya, Ajit Agarkar, Rohit Sharma
Hardik Pandya, Ajit Agarkar, Rohit Sharma [PC: X]

Chief selector Ajit Agarkar has thrown his support behind under-pressure Hardik Pandya and has highlighted his importance for the Indian team ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024.

The allrounder has been named in the 15-member India squad for the marquee event, scheduled to be played next month in the United States of America and the Caribbeans. Not only did the selectors include Hardik Pandya in the team but also named him as captain Rohit Sharma's deputy for the mega event.

Not very long ago, Hardik Pandya was expected to lead the team as he was leading the T20I team after the 2022 T20 World Cup. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli did not play a single T20 last year and it looked like the selectors had moved on. After the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, he led India in 13 games from November 2022 to August last year.

However, the selectors decided to recall Rohit as well as Kohli to the T20I team earlier this year and the former has been given the charge of the team as well. As far as Hardik Pandya was concerned, his place in the team was also in doubt as recent reports stated that he might miss out after failing to impress in the ongoing IPL

Ajit Agarkar on Hardik Pandya:

The Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel once again showed their faith in Hardik Pandya and named him in the squad in addition to appointing him as the vice-captain. On Thursday (May 2), Agarkar made it clear that Hardik Pandya's place in the team was never in question. The former India pacer also stated that the team still does not have an apt replacement for Pandya as he spoke about the allrounder's importance.

"Nothing was discussed on vice-captaincy. He has got through all games so far for Mumbai Indians. We have month and a little bit for our first game. As long as he is fit, there is no replacement for what he can do.": Ajit Agarkar on India's vice-captain Hardik Pandya.... his fitness for us is critical," said Agarkar.

Hardik Pandya has struggled to impress with both bat and ball in the ongoing IPL 2024. In 10 games so far, he has scored 197 runs with a top score of 46. With the ball, he has picked up six wickets while conceding 11 runs per over.

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Hardik Pandya Ajit Agarkar India National Cricket Team ICC T20 World Cup 2024