'Without one word, you know who the leader is': Rahul Dravid warned on handling Hardik Pandya-Rohit Sharma situation | Crickit
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'Without one word, you know who the leader is': Rahul Dravid warned on handling Hardik Pandya-Rohit Sharma situation

Jun 02, 2024 01:18 PM IST

Matthew Hayden reckoned that Rahul Dravid does not need to bring up the topic because the focus has now shifted from the IPL to the T20 World Cup

Speculations were rife through the course of Mumbai Indians' horrid show in IPL 2024 that all is not well between captain Hardik Pandya and his predecessor Rohit Sharma. Reports even indicated that it led to a division within the MI team as the side finished bottom of the table for the second time in three seasons. With Hardik and Rohit now in the Indian camp as the vice-captain and captain for the T20 World Cup tournament, head coach Rahul Dravid will have a tough task in hand in getting the two together and avoiding an MI-like situation in the Indian dressing room.

India's Hardik Pandya, right, hands the ball to captain Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune(AP)
India's Hardik Pandya, right, hands the ball to captain Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune(AP)

However, like former India cricketer Irfan Pathan, Australia legend Matthew Hayden reckoned that Dravid does not need to bring up the topic because the focus has now shifted from the IPL to the World Cup, where India will be aiming to end their long-standing ICC trophy drought and they would need their two best and senior players to unite in the cause.

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"Without one word, you know who the leader is. Nothing has to be spoken. You look at each other, you understand what needs to happen and you go about it. It's music to my ears what Irfan just said, about how it is that you are not going to address it. Don't even talk about it," Hayden told ESPNCricinfo.

Pathan, who also participated in the discussion, 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 Indian line-up.

“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,” the former T20 World Cup winner said.

Hardik and Rohit were both part of the line-up for India on Saturday in the T20 World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh in New York, where the all-rounder put behind poor IPL show to score a fiery 23-ball 40 as the Men in Blue won by 60 runs.

India will begin their World Cup campaign on June 5 against Ireland at the same venue.

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