Hardik Pandya suspiciously missing amid Natasa Stankovic divorce rumours as Team India players leave for T20 World Cup | Crickit

Hardik Pandya suspiciously missing amid Natasa Stankovic divorce rumours as Team India players leave for T20 World Cup

May 25, 2024 10:19 PM IST

Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli were missing from the first batch of Team India stars who departed for New York ahead of the T20 World Cup.

The first group of Indian cricketers, including captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, arrived in Mumbai airport to embark on their journey to the USA for the T20 World Cup 2024, which kicks off on June 1. Alongside them were other team members, namely Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, and Axar Patel, the support staff and head coach Rahul Dravid, as the team readies for its quest for a second T20 World Cup title.

Team India players awaiting departure at Mumbai airport(BCCI)
Team India players awaiting departure at Mumbai airport(BCCI)

Reports earlier indicated that both Rohit and Virat Kohli are among the first batch of players to depart for the T20 World Cup; however, Kohli was not spotted with the group. The contingent is scheduled to fly from Mumbai to Dubai before boarding a connecting flight to New York.

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The team's departure has been a significant event, with videos capturing the moment circulating widely on social media.

The BCCI also posted a picture of Indian players awaiting their departure.

In addition to Kohli, another major absentee from the first batch was Hardik Pandya. It was initially believed that Hardik would be part of the first batch of players departing for the USA, especially since his team, Mumbai Indians, were eliminated from the IPL playoffs early. However, in the first batch, only three other MI players – Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah – were seen deboarding the team bus and posing for pictures.

Hardik endured a string of controversies over the past few months; after enduring a tough IPL season with Mumbai Indians, where the side finished at the bottom of the league under his captaincy, there are speculations of turmoil in Hardik's personal life.

The all-rounder is widely rumoured to have had a fall-out in relationship with his wife, Natasa Stankovic, although none of the two have officially addressed the speculation. Reports have suggested that Hardik is currently in London for a brief training stint, and is expected to link up with the national team directly from there.

Pandya's leadership and his all-round ability will be crucial as India aim to capture the prestigious T20 World Cup trophy, thus ending a 11-year wait for an ICC title.

RR stars to depart separately

Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan, and Yashasvi Jaiswal are scheduled to leave with the second batch of Indian players. Their departure comes on the heels of their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 campaign, which concluded after Rajasthan Royals (RR) were defeated by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 36 runs in the Qualifier 2 held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Here's India's full T20 World Cup squad:

Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj.

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