‘Hardik Pandya does not play for India…’ – Praveen Kumar sparks controversy with serious ‘IPL’ allegations

Praveen Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya

Mumbai Indians have named Hardik Pandya as their new skipper ahead of IPL 2024. The management’s decision took everyone by surprise. What was an even bigger surprise was the exchange between the Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians for the Indian all-rounder.

Hardik Pandya last played international cricket for India in the ICC World Cup 2023. He injured his ankle in the match against Bangladesh and has been out of the Indian national cricket team since then.

He has missed every bilateral series India has played since the World Cup but still remained in the Grade A category in the BCCI’s latest version of centrally contracted players. Under that category, he will earn Rs 5 crore.

Several former Indian cricket experts did not take kindly to Pandya becoming the new captain of the Mumbai Indians. Unanimously, there was talk about whether he will be able to recover solidly after his ankle injury. Irfan Pathan even questioned why Hardik did not play domestic cricket during his time away from the national cricket team.

“They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they recover and come back stronger. If players like Hardik don’t want to play red-ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in domestic white-ball cricket when not on national duty? If this does not apply to all, then Indian cricket will not achieve the desired results,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Praveen Kumar criticizes Hardik Pandya over captaincy dispute

Now Praveen Kumar, in a recent interaction, criticized the Indian all-rounder for skipping domestic cricket and giving preference to playing only in the IPL.

“You get injured two months before the IPL, you don’t play for the country, you don’t play for your state in domestic cricket and you just play straight in the IPL. That’s not how things should be done. It’s okay to make money, there’s nothing wrong with it. But you have to play for the state and the country and now people only give importance to the IPL,” Praveen said.

Praveen’s response came when he was asked if Mumbai Indians were right in dropping Rohit Sharma, who led them to five IPL titles with Hardik Pandya.

Praveen Kumar further said that Rohit was still good enough to lead the team at least for the next two-three years. Rohit last had a 400-plus season in 2019 and his last 500-plus season was in 2013, the first season in which Mumbai won its first IPL title.

“Yes, Rohit can do it. Not just for one year, but he can do it for two years, three years. But in the end the decision is in the hands of the management,” says the 37-year-old.

Rohit Sharma is in very good form ahead of IPL 2024. He scored 400 runs in the Test series against England with two centuries and a fifty as well. He passed the 1000 tests as captain and got the highest score from him in the test as captain. He is expected to open the innings with Ishan Kishan on top. It will be interesting to see how much he scores this season.

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