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‘Injury bolke cricket se durr aur politician se meeting’ – Fans react as Hardik Pandya joins Amit Shah at Gandhinagar Lok Sabha Premier League inauguration

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Hardik Pandya (left) with Home Minister Amit Shah

Hardik Pandya, Team India’s stand-in captain in limited-overs cricket, is currently out of action due to an ankle injury. Pandya suffered a serious injury during India’s ODI World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh. While the all-rounder is currently in recovery mode ahead of Indian Premier League (IPL) season 17, he rarely makes public appearances.

In one such rare outing, Pandya was spotted with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the inauguration of the Gandhinagar Premier League on Monday (February 12). The star cricketer unveiled the trophy alongside the Indian politician. Notably, Amit Shah’s son and the honorable secretary of the Indian Cricket Board Jay Shah was also present at the venue.

Reminiscing about the ceremony held at the Chharodi Gurukul ground, Amit Shah tweeted that the league aims to promote better physical health. Shah, who is also Gandhinagar Lok Sabha MP, took to his X handle to say that he is confident that the tournament will promote the sports culture in the region.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, ‘Parliamentarian Sports Competition’ is being organized across the country and under this, Gandhinagar Lok Sabha Premier League has started. I am confident that this cricket tournament, played between the 7 constituencies of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha, will prove useful in promoting sports culture and a healthy lifestyle in the area,” Amit Shah wrote on Twitter.

Hardik Pandya gearing up for a blockbuster Mumbai Indians return 

Hardik Pandya has never been out of the headlines since his transfer to Mumbai Indians (MI) was rumoured. The reports turned out to be true as the Gujarat Titans (GT) captain was traded for an all-cash deal ahead of the IPL 2024 mini-auction. Pandya was then announced as the captain of the five-time champions, replacing Rohit Sharma, one of the most successful captains in league history.

The fast-bowling all-rounder has led GT in the last two seasons and won them a title in their inaugural season (2022). While there is no doubt about his leadership qualities, it will not be easy for Pandya to carry on the legacy that Rohit has created for the Mumbai-based franchise over the last decade.

Here’s how fans reacted to Hardik Pandya meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah: 

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Will Haris Rauf get ruled out of T20 WC 2024?

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Haris Rauf

Haris Rauf has been ruled out of the rest of the PSL 2024 after dislocating his shoulder. Playing for Lahore Qalandars in the PSL 2024, Rauf sustained a serious shoulder injury during the game against Karachi Kings. In the penultimate ball of the innings, Rauf suffered the injury and walked off the field. The physios took him along with them.

The latest reports following the scans have claimed him to have sustained a serious injury. In the statement from the official handle of the PSL, it has been revealed that the Pakistan pacer might have to miss out on playing cricket for five to six weeks. However, the exact period of his returning to action is not yet confirmed. It has caused worries among the fans of the star pacer.

“The medical panel, after consultation, concluded that he needs four to six weeks to recover, forcing him to miss the PSL season,” claimed the statement of the league. The fans are wondering if he would be fit before the start of the T20 WC 2024, where the role of the right-arm pacer would be crucial for the Asian side. The express pacer was one of the best bowlers in the T20 WC 2022.

Haris Rauf’s unpleasant recent past

The incident happened after Rauf was criticized for his decision and got to pay for the same. Despite being assured of the workload management, the star pacer chose to play BBL. It led to him getting excluded from the central contract of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Rauf was however given the NOC to take part in the PSL 2024. he played some matches for Lahore Qalandars before getting injured.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had addressed Rauf’s decision in one of its statements. “The PCB management provided a chance for a personal hearing to Haris in compliance with the principles of natural justice on 30 January 2024 and his response was found unsatisfactory,” said the statement of the league. Rauf has been suffering from a rough patch in cricket. Lack of game time might affect him in the days to come.

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England’s Barmy Army cry over Joe Root’s dismissal in Ranchi against India

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England's Barmy Army

England’s Barmy Army cried over the dismissal of Joe Root during the 2nd innings of the 4th Test in Ranchi. The match between India and England witnessed a lot of umpire calls which have been a center of discussion. As Root got dismissed in a rather clean way as per the technology, the admin of England’s Barmy Army could not hold back his opinion.

England’s Barmy Army’s handle posted an image of the dismissal of Joe Root. The admin posted a shocking emoji along with the dismissal. It was a very good ball from Kuldeep Yadav who got the ball to hit right inside the line and the impact of the ball was right in line. Even the wickets were hitting upon checking the dismissal by the third umpires.

Instead of accepting the dismissal, the fans of England started crying about it, when in actuality, it was the Indian fans who were disappointed the most with the umpire’s calls which were an unfortunate barrier for them in the first innings. In fact, Root himself survived a close call in the first innings and went on to score an unbeaten hundred. But back then, the fans of England did not seem to have any problems.

Not the first instance from England’s Barmy Army

The fans took to the comment section of the post of England’s Barmy Army and questioned their hypocrisy. The Indian fans pointed out that Root survived a close call, and four decisions of umpires’ call were in England’s favour in the Test. It is not new that the handle of England’s Barmy Army has commented foul or cried over such incidents, especially against India.

When Virat Kohli was dismissed for a duck in the ODI World Cup 2023, England trolled him, only to get a reply from the Indian fans who brutally trolled them back. During the Ashes 2023, England’s Barmy Army had a go at the Australians for the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow in the 2nd innings of the Lord’s Test and invoked the ‘Spirit of cricket’ argument to cover the dismissal.

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3 reasons why Steve Smith should be in Australia’s squad for T20 World Cup 2024

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Steve Smith

Steve Smith has had a mixed bag in T20Is in his career. Till 2016, he was a good batter for Australia and delivered at the highest level. However, for several reasons, he fell off the radar in the shortest format of the game and has not been effective in the format in the last few years. While he has his legacy established in the longer formats, Smith has a lot to prove in T20Is. Performing well in the BBL was the first step towards it.

Big Bash League is a tournament where the pitches are not that easy to bat. In such wickets, Smith scored runs at a brisk rate in the last couple of seasons. He was rewarded with the performances and got an opportunity to open the innings for Australia in the recent series against the West Indies and New Zealand. It looks like the star batter has set his goal to play in the T20 WC 2024, probably for one last time in the format for his nation.

With the T20 WC 2024 just months away from commencing, here are the three reasons why Australia should consider him in the squad for the big tournament.

Also check: 3 reasons why Kuldeep Yadav is a better spinner for India than Ravichandran Ashwin in longer run

3. Experience

Steve Smith

Three reasons why Australia should consider Steve Smith in the squad for the T20 World Cup 2024 (Source: X)

There is a saying that experience cannot be bought in the market. Players like Smith are valuable for any side they play. They can contribute as a middle-order batter and can open the innings as well. Having played at the highest level and in big tournaments for a long time, Steve would be knowing what it takes to win big tournaments.

Smith has never missed a T20 WC for Australia since 2014. The star player was a part of the Australian squad which won the T20 WC for the first time in 2021. The speciality of Smith is that he never takes things for granted and is aware of what works well for himself and the team. Australia would want his experience for the big tournament.

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