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From Rinku’s Snub To Hardik’s Selection: Top Points Made By Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar In Presser

On Thursday, India captain Rohit Sharma and chief selector Ajit Agarkar addressed the media on the topic of the T20 World Cup 2024 squad selection that was announced a couple of days ago. From the decision to snub Rinku Singh to the chatter around Virat Kohli’s strike-rate, a number of gruelling topics questions were asked by the media to Rohit and Agarkar. While the duo ducked a few questions efficiently, they also gave apt clarifications on certain other topics, giving insights into the idea behind the selection and non-selection of certain individuals.

Top highlights of Rohit Sharma-Ajit Agarkar press conference on India’s T20 World Cup squad selections:

On Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill snub:
BCCI selection committee chief Ajit Agarkar admitted that the decision to leave out the duo was the hardest he and his team had to take.

“It’s probably the toughest thing we have had to discuss. He has done nothing wrong, not even Shubman Gill, for that matter. It’s about combinations,” Agarkar said.

On Virat Kohli’s strike-rate:
Agarkar and Rohit hit the question out of the park, suggesting there has been absolutely no talk in the selection committee or the team management about the RCB batter’s strike-rate. It’s his experience that earned him a spot in the team.

“You want some experience in the team. These guys have been around because they’ve been good at this level,” Agarkar explained.

The wicket-keeping choices:
Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant earned the nod for the T20 World Cup while KL Rahul was snubbed. Agarkar explained the reason, suggesting it’s the role Rahul plays for his IPL franchise that worked against him in this case.

“KL’s a terrific player. The thing we all know is that we were looking for guys who bat in the middle. We feel Sanju has the ability to come down the order if need be. Rishabh batting at No. 5 for DC. It wasn’t whether KL is better or these guys are better. It’s about the slots we needed, and we felt that these two were better equipped at this point in the latter half of the innings. KL’s batting at top right now (for his IPL team),” Agarkar said.

On Shivam Dube’s selection:
Despite not bowling in the IPL 2024 for the most of the campaign, Dube was selected for the T20 World Cup. While Rohit admitted that his IPL form played a big role in selection, the call also came because of his all-round heroics for India in the games before the start of the T20 league.

“We needed someone to come in middle overs and play that role. We picked Shivam Dube based on what he has done in IPL and a few games he played before IPL,” Rohit explained.

“I’ve never played in New York. So, I don’t know what pitches are like there. So all options are open. We’ll go there and figure out what players to play. One thing we looked at was our middle overs hitting. Top-order hitting has been all right. It is not been bad, there are options as well,” he added.

On Hardik Pandya’s form, vice-captaincy
Both Agarkar and Rohit were happy to see Hardik not incurring any injury setbacks while fulfilling his role as a batter and a bowler for the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024 so far. They were also hopeful of seeing him return to top form in the remainder of the campaign.

“Nothing was discussed with regard to being vice-captain. You want everyone to be in good form. The good part is that he (Hardik) has gotten through all the games for MI, and we have a month and a little bit.

“We know he is doing that and hope he keeps building on that form. I don’t think there is a replacement for the things he can do. He gives the team balance and Rohit the option to play different combinations. Fortunately, he has gone well this IPL thus far,” Agarkar said.

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