Rohit Sharma

Definitely, I wanted four spinners: Riet Sharma

Prior to the Twenty20 World Cup, Ajit Agarkar dismissed worries over Virat Kohli’s strike rate, and Rohit Sharma made a suggestion that the four spinners may have a secret weapon. The India captain and selection committee chairman expressed sympathy for Rinku Singh and played down any concerns over Hardik Pandya’s form or fitness during a joint news conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.

To be honest, it’s perhaps the hardest topic we’ve had to talk about. He hasn’t done anything wrong, and neither has Shubman Gill, either. It’s a mix of several things. We wanted to attempt to have enough options since we’re not exactly sure what conditions we’ll get,” Agarkar added. In his 11 at-bat opportunities, Rinku has amassed 356 runs at an average of 89 and a strike rate of 176, demonstrating his prolific scoring ability at the international level. The chief selector took great care to clarify that although it was a tough decision, it could not be avoided.

While acknowledging that he made the decision to select the quartet of spinners (Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal), Rohit would not explain his reasoning. “This is the real purpose for four spinners, but I won’t disclose it in public just yet. I’ll say it then (at the World Cup), but I won’t say it now. The game is expected to begin around ten in the morning. Thus, yes, there is some technological component to this,” Rohit remarked, giving room for interpretation. “I definitely wanted three seamers—Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, and Mohammed Siraj—and four spinners—Hardik being the fourth. Thus, you also receive the balance of seamers. Additionally, there are the spinners, you know.”

Agarkar dismissed the notion that concerns have been raised over Kohli’s strike rate, which has been discussed in many forums, especially in the post-PowerPlay overs. Up until recently, Kohli (who is presently ranked No. 2) had been at the top of the IPL batting standings and was hitting close to 150. “I don’t believe we’ve talked about it yet, no. Regarding the top batter’s IPL performance, Agarkar remarked, “Look, he’s been in great form.” Rohit dismissedively smiled in response.

The bowling and batting form of Hardik Pandya has been subpar. He has not bowled four overs for MI in a number of games, and in ten games at bat, he has only made 197. Agarkar, however, praised the all-round player, stating that everyone thought he was the best candidate for vice captain. “He seems to be returning after a protracted layoff. The positive aspect that we have observed is that he has completed every game that MI has released thus far, and we still have a month and a half till our first game. We thus hope that he continues to grow on the form that he is now performing.”

The pickers have excluded KL. Rahul was the top choice for the wicketkeeping position, even when a regular keeper was in the starting lineup. Although Rahul has the highest score of all the candidates for the job, the chief selector believed Sanju Samson’s experience in the late order won him the argument. In the IPL, Rahul has only been the opener. KL is an excellent athlete. The person we were seeing bats in the middle. He is batting at the top of the order right now. We like to think that Sanju can come down the rankings as necessary. For the Delhi Capitals, Rishabh Pant is batting down the order. It concerns the slots we required. We believed that these two are superior and have more experience descending the order that may be required during the World Cup,” Agarkar continued.

In the meantime, Rohit expressed a philosophical attitude over his removal as the Mumbai Indians’ captain. “It’s a natural part of life,” he stated. “You won’t get your wish for everything. The experience of working under Pandya has been good. I played under a lot of captains in my past life and was never captain. I’m not unfamiliar with it. Everything that exists exists. You adhere to whatever the rules are for you as a participant. Regarding his experience playing for the Mumbai Indians under Pandya, the all-around India skipper remarked, “I have only tried to do so in the last month.”