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Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya gestures during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 17. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Hardik Pandya was the notable absentee as the first batch of Team India’s players left for the T20 World Cup 2024 scheduled to begin next month in the US and the West Indies.

The absence of Mumbai Indians skipper has raised speculations about his potential divorce from Natasa Stankovic, who earlier posted a cryptic message on social media. The all-rounder’s relationship with his wife has soured in the recent past although none of the two have officially addressed the speculation.

Stankovic also removed ‘Pandya’ surname from her Instagram handle adding fuel to the speculations. She was also missing from the IPL matches.

There are also reports which suggest that Pandya has travelled to London for a brief training stint, and is expected to join the team directly at the T20 World Cup.

Pandya suffered a horrid time at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season as the captain of the Mumbai team. He faced heavy criticism and was often booed for replacing Rohit Sharma which showed on his performances in the field.

Earlier in the day, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared photos of the players at the airport, including captain Rohit Sharma, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, and Axar Patel, the support staff and head coach Rahul Dravid.

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.