'He will wrap his arms around Hardik Pandya': Former Australian player on Rohit-Hardik bonding

Rohit Sharma will lead India in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 while Hardik Pandya will be his deputy.

Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

Mumbai Indians became the first team to be ruled out of IPL 2024. The five-time IPL champions never really got going and their campaign was a disappointing one. They have been surrounded by controversies ever since the auction when they replaced Rohit Sharma with their newly signed player Hardik Pandya.

Since then, Hardik has faced plenty of criticism from the fans around the world. Not only in the stadiums, Hardik has recieved flak in the social media as well. His own performance and some of the captaincy decisions haven't been up to the mark, which has added fuel to this criticism.

Mumbai started poorly this season but seemed to be getting back on track with a few wins before losing some matches in a cluster to bow out of the season. Accoding to some experts, the camaraderie between Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya seemed to be going downhill because of the team's atmosphere and shrinking confidence.

'He will wrap his arms around Hardik Pandya': Michael Clarke

Former Australian batter Michael Clarke believes that the situation may not be as bad as it seems. While speaking to the Around the Wicket podcast, Rohit Sharma needs Hardik Pandya firing at the World Cup, which is why the latter is in the squad. According to Clarke, Hardik would not have been picked had the matters had been out of hand.

"You know what… knowing Rohit Sharma, he will wrap his arms around Hardik Pandya. That shows the character that Rohit is. He is the Indian captain and trust me… he wants to win that World Cup. He has had a lot of say in the 15 that is picked by India,” Clarke said.

“It's very different to let's say the Australian 15. They are heavily focussed on spin bowling. If the beef between Rohit and Hardik was as strong as people think, Hardik wouldn't be in that World Cup campaign. The Indian captain has that much power,” the former Australian captain added.

Clarke also added that although Rohit has been removed from Mumbai Indians' captaincy, it won't affect his relationship with Hardik Pandya.

“I think while there is obviously issues with how Rohit was released off his duties as captain of Mumbai Indians, I don't think that will affect their friendship, selection or Rohit Sharma. He will make sure Hardik is as focussed as possible,” Clarke reckoned.

“You've seen in the last couple of games and Hardik knows he has to be batting and bowling and has to improve his game from where it’s been in the first half of the IPL. Right now it’s based on performance and as long as Hardik is performing, Rohit knows how important he is for that Indian team," the 43-year-old added.

Also read: 'Ek Ek chiz change ho raha ha' - Rohit Sharma's chat with KKR staff Abhishek Nayar goes viral; KKR handle deletes video

Rohit Sharma will lead India in the T20 World Cup 2024, to be held in the West Indies and the USA. Hardik Pandya has been appointed the team's vice-captain. India will begin its campaign on June 5 against Ireland at New York.

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