India Under-19 World Cup star Rajvardhan Hangargekar stole the limelight after he smashed a hat-trick of sixes against Ireland in their Group B match in the recently-concluded Under-19 World Cup 2022 in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago.

Hangargekar’s six-hitting prowess helped India post a competitive 307/5 in their 50 overs before bundling out Ireland for just 133 runs to secure a massive 174-run victory.

The highly talented India Under-19 side later went on to lift the Under-19 World Cup title, defeating England by four wickets in the final.

Hangargekar was one of the star performers for the India Under-19 team that won all their six matches in the tournament.

The Maharashtra-born cricketer picked five wickets and scored some valuable runs while batting lower down the order.

Hangargekar’s all-round capabilities attracted the attention of Indian T20 League franchises as they were involved in an intense bidding war to secure his services at the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction held in Bengaluru in February.

Having kept his base price at INR 30 lakh, defending champions Chennai, five-time winners Mumbai and new franchise Lucknow all got involved in the bidding process as his price crossed INR 1 crore in a blink of an eye.

MS Dhoni-led Chennai finally bagged the talented Hangargekar for INR 1.5 crore. 

Hangargekar made his T20 debut for Maharashtra in the 2020–21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on January 16, 2021. He also made his List A debut for Maharashtra in the 2020–21 Vijay Hazare Trophy on 21 February 2021.

However, Hangargekar was recently embroiled in a controversy as he was accused of age fraud.

Maharashtra State Sports Commissioner Omprakash Bakoria wrote a letter to BCCI secretary Jay Shah stating that the India Under-19 star altered his birth date from January 10, 2001 to November 10, 2002.

“As per the inquiry and the report, it reveals that Mr Rajvardhan Hangargekar has started his academic career from Terna Public School, Osmanabad. It is governed by the school code prescribed by the Government of Maharashtra,” Bakoria wrote.

“As per the general register maintained by the Terna Public School, Osmanabad, his birth date is 10/01/2001. It appears unauthorized corrections (were) made by the Head Master and his birth date is recorded as 10/11/2002 at the time of fresh application for 8th standard,” Bakoria added.

The BCCI didn’t initiate any action since it follows age-verification protocol based on a bone test conducted on a player at the time of his initiation into the age-group inter-state system.

Meanwhile, Hangargekar will hope to prove his worth on the field in the upcoming edition of the Indian T20 League and play an important role in Chennai’s campaign this season.

With pacer Deepak Chahar doubtful for Indian T20 League 2022, Hangargekar could be drafted into the playing XI as a replacement.

Featured photo: ChennaiIPL