Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

After the appointment of Hardik Pandya as the captain of the Mumbai Indians (MI) ahead of IPL 2024 in place of veteran batsman Rohit Sharma, there was reportedly a spat between both the cricketers. They didn’t even see eye to eye in the MI dressing room, leading to a rumoured break in the team as they finished 10th in the points table.

As the two senior players have been appointed as the captain and vice-captain of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, head coach Rahul Dravid will have a tough job in getting the two together and avoid an MI-like situation in the Indian dressing room.

Responding to the expected situation, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan reckoned that Dravid should not even bring up the IPL topic and rather focus on creating a sense of belief in Hardik on his importance in the line-up and in India going the distance in the marquee event.

“I will not even discuss this. Whatever happened has happened. I will just say that this is my expectation from you: I want you to win matches for India. This is the roadmap, and you are an important part of the team and a match-winner. Being an all-rounder, I will say he will play a crucial role. How many fast bowlers have we taken? Just three specialist bowlers, besides Hardik and Shivam Dube. So when the time comes, these 3-4 overs will become very crucial. Remember, he will allow us to play an extra spinner in West Indies when we play day games. So this is where he comes into the picture, he needs to feel good and believe that he can make a contribution and hence the conversation of the IPL should not be even happening even once,” said Pathan.

The former all-rounder-turned expert also gave Dravid a stern reminder on how former coach Greg Chappell’s methodology failed to work in the Indian set-up that believes in celebrity culture. 

“Australia do not have a celebrity culture, but we have that. Ideally, I would want that balance between the two cultures. But we are Indians, out mindset and ethics are different. I said this before as well, when Greg Chappell came in, his intentions were pure. He wanted Indian cricket to go on a high and hence wanted every player to be treated equally and work in the same way. But his way was proper Australian, which did not work in India. I have huge respect for him. I told to him as well that while you want Indian cricket to grow, this aggression won’t work,” Pathan added.

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