“We don't know the selectors' thinking…” Kiran More on chances of Hardik leading the Indian T20I team after Rohit’s return

Hardik Pandya continues to recover from the ankle injury he sustained in the World Cup last year.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have returned to India's T20 side | GettyThe BCCI on Sunday (January 7) announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan.

The squad included batting stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who have not played in the shortest format for India since November 2022.

All-rounder Shivam Dube got another chance in the team as Hardik Pandya remains unavailable due to injury.

Hardik was last seen in action during India’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19. He picked up an ankle injury during that game, which ruled him out of the remainder of the marquee event. Since then, the all-rounder has been working at the NCA to regain his fitness.

Notably, Hardik was leading the Indian T20I side in the absence of Rohit after the T20 World Cup 2022. Hence, former India wicketkeeper Kiran More has issued a noteworthy message for the injured all-rounder.

"Firstly, Hardik needs to get fit. He needs to start playing cricket first, that's extremely necessary. Once he does that, Hardik Pandya definitely ticks all the boxes. He has also been the captain earlier. We don't know the selectors' thinking, what has gone on inside, but Hardik will come into the team as soon as he gets fit. He needs to play matches before the World Cup. We don't know when he will start, probably in the IPL, but he is preparing hard. He is the world's top all-rounder and every team will want to have him," More told Sports 18.

Commenting on Rohit and Kohli’s return to the T20I side, More opined that it was due to their recent form.

“Your (selectors) thinking changed slightly after two years. I don't know what their thinking was earlier but both gave fantastic performances in the World Cup and looked in form in the South Africa series as well. The way Rohit Sharma captained in the World Cup and we reached the final as well, he played exceptional innings, the aggression he showed, so the thinking changed slightly. So both have been recalled and it is very good news for Indian cricket,” he remarked.

The three-match T20I series between India and Afghanistan is slated to get underway on January 11 in Mohali. Indore and Bengaluru will host the second and third games on January 14 and January 17, respectively.

It will be India’s last T20I assignment before the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled to be held in the West Indies and USA from June 1 to June 29.

India squad for Afghanistan T20Is:

Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Akshar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar


By Salman Anjum - 10 Jan, 2024

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