File photo of Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya

Out of the race for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 already, Mumbai Indians have had a torrid campaign in Hardik Pandya‘s first season as the franchise’s skipper. Despite possessing some of the finest players in the team, Mumbai failed to click as a unit. While the players looked to produce results on the field, the chatter around Rohit Sharma‘s removal as skipper and Hardik’s appointment continued to drag in the rear-view mirror. Even as MI have been knocked out of the playoffs race, the chatter has refused to die down.

Speaking of the much-talked-about topic, former Australia captain Michael Clarke doesn’t think the issue between Hardik and Rohit would drag into the Indian national team at the T20 World Cup.

“You know what… knowing Rohit Sharma, he will wrap his arms around Hardik Pandya. That shows the character that Rohit is. He is the Indian captain and trust me… he wants to win that World Cup. He has had a lot of say in the 15 that is picked by India,” Clarke said on Around the Wicket podcast.

Clark also feels if there was any ‘beef’ between Rohit and Hardik, the latter wouldn’t have made it to India’s squad for the T20 World Cup. But, the retired Australian cricketer admitted that there certainly were issues over the manner in which the captaincy chance took place.

“It’s very different to let’s say the Australian 15. They are heavily focussed on spin bowling. If the beef between Rohit and Hardik was as strong as people think, Hardik wouldn’t be in that World Cup campaign. The Indian captain has that much power.”

“I think while there is obviously issues with how Rohit was released off his duties as captain of Mumbai Indians, I don’t think that will affect their friendship, selection or Rohit Sharma. He will make sure Hardik is as focussed as possible,” Clarke further said.

“You’ve seen in the last couple of games and Hardik knows he has to be batting and bowling and has to improve his game from where it’s been in the first half of the IPL. Right now it’s based on performance and as long as Hardik is performing, Rohit knows how important he is for that Indian team.”

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