Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar explain T20 World Cup selection: Why no Rinku, why 4 spinners?

T20 World Cup 2024: Speaking to the press in Mumbai on Thursday, captain Rohit Sharma and chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar explained the selection calls, including the omission of Rinku Singh and the addition of 4 spinners.
Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar explain T20 World Cup selection: Why no Rinku, why 4 spinners?
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Captain Rohit Sharma and chairman of the senior men's team selection committee, Ajit Agarkar, addressed a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday, May 2, explaining the calls taken while selecting their T20 World Cup 2024 squad. While the BCCI announced their 15-man squad along with 4 travelling reserves on Tuesday, the two decision-makers faced the press after Rohit Sharma arrived in Mumbai on the eve of MI's IPL 2024 match against the Knight Riders.

Both Rohit Sharma and Ajit Agarkar answered some tough questions from the press, not swaying away from the line of bouncers directed at them. From Rinku Singh's omission to Virat Kohli's strike rate, Rohit and Agarkar shed light on the rationale behind selections and exclusions.

India named Hardik Pandya as the vice-captain of the World Cup, backing the under-fire MI captain. Ajit Agarkar went on to say that India don't have any replacements at the moment for the all-round skill that Hardik possesses and the balance he lends to the team.

Rohit Sharma also backed the team's decision to pick 4 spinners in their 15-man squad while keeping mum about the reason behind it. Rohit teased everyone, saying he would reveal the reason during his first press conference during the T20 World Cup.

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Rohit Sharma, Ajit Agarkar explain T20 World Cup selection: Why no Rinku, why 4 spinners?

Agarkar on Rinku Singh's exclusion

"It is probably the toughest thing we have had to discuss. He has done nothing wrong, not even Shubman Gill for that matter. It is not his fault that he missed out. It's about combinations.

"A couple of wrist spinners were included to give Rohit (Sharma) more options. There are two keepers, we needed an extra bowler. It's just unfortunate. He's in the reserves, so that tells you how close he came to being in the 15. But at the end of the day, you can only pick 15 players in the squad."

Agarkar on Hardik Pandya's selection

"So we know he is doing that, and the hope is that he will keep on building on that form. So, as long as he stays fit, we know what he brings, and how much balance he gives the team.

"I don't think there is any replacement for the things that he can do as a cricketer at the moment. Especially with the way he bowls, it brings a lot of balance. I think it will give Rohit options to play more combinations. So, his fitness for us is critical and, so far, fortunately, he has gone okay in this IPL."

Rohit on India picking 4 spinners

"I don't want to go into details on this. I wanted four spinners. We have played a lot of cricket there. A lot of matches start at 10 am. There is a technical aspect involved in this,

"The reason for picking four spinners is something I won't reveal now. With two of them being all-rounders and two attacking options, it gives you balance. Based on the opposition, we can decide who to play."

Rohit on whether IPL form influenced selection

"You sort of make the playing eleven in your mind and work around it. A lot of preparations and talks and guys playing games happen during the IPL, lot of them have been playing the format for a while now. The talk of what the final 15 is going to be started much before IPL.

"It is just a few spots we had to look at in the IPL. In IPL, performances change every day. Anyone will come and score a hundred or take five wickets. We knew 70-80 percent of our squad before the IPL."

Agarkar on noise around Virat Kohli's strike rate

"I don’t think we have been discussing it. No look, he has been in great form fortunately in the IPL. No concerns there at all. With regards to what’s going in the IPL you’re still going to a World Cup. It’s still international cricket, there’s still that gap there. You’ve got to prepare knowing that there’s that gap there.

"That's where experience does matter. If the tournament turns out to be like the IPL is, where 220 is normal, we still have enough power. We can match that. There is no real point in over-thinking. You have to look at the positives happening in the IPL -- form of the new guys, the performances. But at the end of the day, when you turn up in the World Cup, the pressure will be different.”

Rohit on whether Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya would bowl

"Expect them to do what they are doing in IPL. Unfortunately, Shivam hasn't bowled a single ball in the IPL but he is a seasoned cricketer. When he plays T20 format, it's about a little bit of skills coming into the picture. I expect... if we need Shivam to ball a few overs, he will. Same with Hardik, he has come and bowled whenever needed. All-rounders must do that whatever their role is."

Source: India Today

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