Hardik Pandya. Photo- Getty
Hardik Pandya. Photo- Getty

MSK Prasad reserved rich praise for Hardik Pandya and said the BCCI selector’s call to name him vice-captain of India for the T20 World Cup 2024 was absolutely correct. This comes after criticism over Hardik’s selection in the Men in Blue side and him being named Rohit Sharma’s deputy.

Hardik, who is captaining the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2024) upon his return to competitive cricket, hasn’t had the best of seasons as both his team and his form have suffered. But the BCCI’s support for Hardik is so great that Pandya was selected vice-captain when the team of 15 was revealed.

While Rohit was away from T20Is for a good part after India’s exit at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, Hardik took over as India’s captain for the better part of next year.

MSK Prasad said that Hardik Pandya was the sole choice for the vice-captaincy role of the Indian team in the T20 World Cup 2024.

“I don’t think there is a second thought on Hardik’s inclusion and also being made the vice-captain of the side. He was given the mantle of captaincy when Rohit was not there. So that clearly indicated that he was next in line for leadership. The selectors made the right decision by picking him. Tell me, who in the country now is a better fast bowling all-rounder than Hardik?” Prasad said during an interaction with RevSportz.

“Yes, he has been struggling with his form in recent times. But let us be fair as well; there is so much that has happened. Change of leadership in Mumbai, unfortunately, has affected his form as well. But once he puts on the Indian jersey, he can leave his IPL form behind. And once again, I repeat that Hardik Pandya is the best fast bowling all-rounder in the country now no matter what the pundits say,” Prasad added.

IPL 2024 was supposed to be Hardik’s big comeback, especially because he was named captain of the most successful team in the competition’s history.

‘No baggage for Hardik Pandya once T20 World Cup starts’- MSK Prasad

Mumbai Indians have been at the bottom of the IPL 2024 points table with only 3 wins in 10 matches and are more or less out of contention for the IPL playoffs. Hardik, himself has not been in best of the form with the bat or the ball. He has scored 197 runs and taken 6 wickets while bowling inconsistently in the tournament.

However, MSK Prasad is confident that Hardik Pandya will come out stronger in the T20 World Cup as he will not have any baggage of MI’s performance when he plays for India.

“I think Hardik will come out of it. I am sure both will give their best. Once they are in the Indian team, their roles will change as well. In Mumbai Indians, Hardik is struggling because of a role clarity.

“At Gujarat Titans, he was very comfortable with the role he was assigned but suddenly in Mumbai Indians where they have so many super-stars, he is struggling to find a perfect batting order for himself. There seems to be no clarity in his role. He will not have to worry about that in the Indian team,” said the ex-chairman of selectors.

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