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It Was Tough On Rinku, We Needed Another Bowling Option, Says Agarkar

Rohit admits he personally wanted four spinners and Hardik as seam all-rounder in the 15-member squad

At the much anticipated press conference on Thursday regarding the selection of the 15-member Indian squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup announced on Tuesday, Indian captain Rohit Sharma and Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar expressed their views on various aspects of the selection, including the much debated omission of Rinku Singh and Hardik Pandya’s role as all-rounder.

Frankly, some views were convincing, while others were not so convincing.

Following are the excerpts

On the influence of IPL 2024 season in determining the T20 World Cup squad: Rohit informed that the selection committee and the leadership group decided on the core of the squad well before the IPL and stressed that only a couple of slots or individuals were left to be decided during the IPL season.

On Rinku Singh’s omission from the squad: That was the toughest decision to make. Not his fault that he missed out. Did nothing wrong, and Shubman Gill as well for that matter. It was all about the combination we wanted. We wanted to play an extra bowler, wanted to have enough options with regards to wrist spinners, Chahal, Kuldeep give us that. Axar Patel is a bowling all-rounder in form and then the two wicketkeeper-batsmen. It was obviously tough on Rinku, but at the end of the day we had to choose just 15, Agarkar said. 

Picking four spinners: The reason for four spinners I won’t reveal now and will reveal in West Indies. I personally wanted four spinners and Hardik as seam all-rounder. Axar, Jadeja being good batters and Kuldeep and Chahal being attacking spinners gives us good balance, said Rohit.

On Shivam Dube’s inclusion: One thing that we looked at was middle-order hitting. Our top-order hitting has been alright, not that bad, though there are options there as well. We wanted someone to play that role in the middle overs freely, without worrying about who is bowling. Shivam Dube was the guy who showed this in IPL and before that in domestic cricket.

But our playing XI isn’t guaranteed, will decide based on conditions and the combination of our opposition. We don’t know how the pitch is going to be like in New York. We have played in the West Indies, but we are playing each match at a different venue. You have to look at the opposition combinations as well.

On Hardik Pandya’s role as an all-rounder: As long as he is fit and available, we always wanted Hardik Pandya in the squad, there was never doubt over it. We all know what he brings to the table, it gives a lot of options to the captain. He has been bowling right through the IPL, and there does not appear to be any fitness concerns as of now, Agarkar said.

Will Shivam Dube bowl: We expect all-rounders to do what they’re doing in the IPL. Unfortunately, Shivam hasn’t bowled a single over in IPL. But he is an experienced cricketer and adept at bowling with the red ball. So, if we want Shivam to bowl a few overs, he will be bowling few overs. Same with Hardik,” Rohit Sharma said.

Regarding lingering concerns in some quarters about Virat Kohli’s strike-rate: We haven’t been discussing Kohli’s strike-rate. There is a difference between IPL and international cricket. You need experience. We have got enough balance and power in the team. You look and try and take positives from what is happening in IPL. Pressure of a World Cup is different, said Ajit Agarkar.

On KL Rahul being ignored: Ajit Agarkar said KL Rahul is a terrific cricketer. He is currently batting at the top of the order, but we needed someone in the middle. Rishab Pant and Sanju Samson are the perfect fit for that slot.


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