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  5. Jitesh wasn't designated vice-captain: Sanjay Bangar clears PBKS' captaincy confusion, gives update on Dhawan

Jitesh wasn't designated vice-captain: Sanjay Bangar clears PBKS' captaincy confusion, gives update on Dhawan

Punjab Kings' Head of Cricket Development, Sanjay Bangar cleared the air over his side's captaincy decision with Sam Curran leading the side in Shikhar Dhawan's absence against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024. The confusion began when the official IPL handle declared Jitesh as PBKS' vice-captain.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: April 14, 2024 6:30 IST
Sanjay Bangar clarified the confusion over Punjab Kings'
Image Source : BCCI/IPL Sanjay Bangar clarified the confusion over Punjab Kings' captaincy with Sam Curran standing in for Shikhar Dhawan in place of Jitesh Sharma

Punjab Kings (PBKS) suffered their fourth loss of the 2024 edition of the IPL as they went down against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a low-scoring thriller in Mullanpur on Saturday, April 13. The match went down to the wire with Punjab Kings bowlers not letting the Royals get away with the game at any point before Shimron Hetmyer's timely 27* off just 10 balls saved the Men in Pink from the blushes. However, more than the loss, the talking point of the match was Punjab Kings' captaincy. 

Sam Curran stood in for Shikhar Dhawan, who injured his shoulder in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. But many expected Jitesh Sharma to take over from Dhawan if the veteran opener was going to miss a match for any reason. Jitesh, who attended the captains' meet in Chennai on March 21, was labelled as vice-captain by the official IPL handle. But PBKS continued with their all-rounder Sam Curran as Dhawan's deputy as they did it last year which caused a lot of confusion.

However, all of it was cleared by Punjab Kings' Head of Cricket Development, Sanjay Bangar at the post-match press conference where he confirmed that Jitesh was never the designated vice-captain and Curran was always going to stand in for Dhawan, having led the side in three matches last year.

"No no, he (Jitesh) wasn't the designated vice-captain. I think, the impression could have been because he attended the captains' seminar or meeting at the start of the IPL but the thought was always that [of Curran standing in for Dhawan] because Sam has led the team in the previous year as well," Bangar said.

"He was late to arrive from UK and because he wanted to have a few sessions, that is the reason we couldn't send him to Chennai for the inauguration of the season and hence Jitesh was sent because the directive from the IPL members was that a player has to attend. Because of that we sent Jitesh in. That wasn't the case that Jitesh was the stand-in captain. We were very clear in our minds that if at all there had been an opening, Sam Curran will be taking over and doing the job as captain," former Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru coach Bangar added.

Bangar also provided an update on Dhawan saying that the senior pro is going though his fitness routines but is likely to be ruled out of action for 7-10 days which means that the Kings are likely to be without him for Thursday (April 18) game against the Mumbai Indians.

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