Hardik Pandya’s captaincy is now in danger! (PC-AFP)
After the defeat in the World Cup final, the situation in cricket is changing very fast. Within 100 hours of this defeat, the Indian team would have come into action once again. The match will also be against the same Australian team which defeated India in the final. The only format will be T20. There will be many such faces in the Indian team who are stars of IPL. The Indian team has also been announced for five T20 matches. The command of this team has been handed over to Suryakumar Yadav. Shreyas Iyer will also join the team for the last two matches. There is some ruckus over not selecting players like Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal in the T20 team. But we are not going into that discussion. We try to find the answer to that question which is related to Hardik Pandya.
Hardik Pandya is out of the field after getting injured in the World Cup match against Bangladesh. That date was 19th October. This means that more than a month has passed since his injury and he will have to stay away from the field for a few more weeks. That is why he has not been selected in the team even for the T20 series against Australia. Now the question is whether his captaincy is in danger due to this untimely injury and the performance of Team India in his absence? Obviously we are talking about the captaincy of the T20 World Cup to be held in June next year.
Why did Hardik’s claim suddenly weaken?
There is no single reason behind this. Rather, many small and big things together have created such a situation. The biggest problem is that Hardik Pandya is once again out of the tournament due to injury. That means his fitness has been a cause of great concern. In order to prepare for a big tournament like the World Cup, you will have to hand over the responsibility to a captain who is better than Hardik Pandya on the basis of fitness. He has played so few matches in this World Cup that it would be too early to judge his performance, but 11 runs in 4 matches and 5 wickets at an economy of 6.84 would be considered average. It has also been seen in recent matches that Hardik Pandya no longer bats as aggressively as before. In both franchise cricket and international cricket, he often leaves this responsibility to the batsman who comes after him. In such a situation, if his bat remains average in the 2024 IPL, the pressure on him will definitely increase. IPL is likely to start in March next year. The T20 World Cup is to be played immediately after the end of the IPL. Which will be jointly hosted by West Indies and America. That means many decisions regarding the World Cup will be taken on the basis of IPL.
Team India did not suffer due to his injury.
This may seem bitter to Hardik Pandya’s fans but it is a practical matter. It is true that if Hardik Pandya is completely fit then there is no replacement for him. But it is also true that Mohammed Shami got a chance in the playing 11 only after his exclusion from the World Cup. Shami did wonders by taking 24 wickets in 7 matches. He was the bowler taking the most wickets in the tournament. If Hardik had been in the team, Mohammed Shami would have got very few matches with great difficulty. In fact, many ‘memes’ were created on social media that if India wins the World Cup, then Hardik Pandya should also get a reward that Shami could play only after he was dropped from the team. Apart from the joke, the truth is that cricket fans felt that Team India would suffer a lot due to Hardik’s absence. But no such damage was seen. Shami in bowling and KL Rahul in batting did not let this shortcoming be missed. KL Rahul batted with great intelligence throughout the tournament. He scored 452 runs in 11 matches. This includes 1 century and 2 half-centuries. That means, with Hardik Pandya out, the apprehensions about the balance of the team were completely dispelled very quickly. With this combination, the Indian team also completed its journey till the finals with a bang.
Rohit-Virat’s batting will also have an impact
Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have not played the T20 format since November 2022. Both these players have been away from this format since the last T20 World Cup. But there is a big catch here. Both the batsmen never said publicly that they will no longer participate in this format. Perhaps this is the reason why Hardik Pandya was given the chance of captaincy. But BCCI never crowned him. That means the captaincy chair was never completely handed over to him. Now, after the way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have batted in the World Cup, if they express their desire to play the T20 World Cup, then it will be difficult for the selectors to refuse them.
Rohit Sharma showed the kind of start which is considered ‘ideal’ in the T20 format throughout the World Cup. Apart from this, even after the defeat in the final, the command of the ODI team announced by ICC was given to Rohit Sharma. This means that even after the defeat in the final, this is another strong stamp on the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. Now let’s talk about Virat Kohli, how can anyone ‘comment’ on the form that Virat has shown. When Rohit Sharma was given the command of Team India, he was given this responsibility in all three formats. If Rohit Sharma returns to the team in T20 format, he will definitely captain it. In such a situation, it is not illogical to raise doubts over the captaincy of Hardik Pandya. The 2024 IPL will make the picture clearer.