Hardik Pandya struck gold in his debut season as captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, he then led India to a 2-0 series win against Ireland, and now on Sunday in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma, he led India to a thumping 88-run win on the back of a superb performance by their spinners in Lauderhill, Florida on to complete a 4-1 series win.
In the post-match presentation, Hardik, who led the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in the side’s and his debut season earlier this year, admits that he is open to the full-time captaincy role.
“Yeah, why not? “If given a chance, I’ll be more than happy to do it. But for now, we have a World Cup coming, it’s about getting better as a team,” said the 28-year-old.
A few months back, not many had backed him as a captain, there was even some mocking, but he led Gujarat Titans with skill, passion, and a cool head.
In a media interaction ahead of the IPL auction in February, Pandya had spoken about how he wants to create his own legacy on his own terms at a new franchise.
“From Virat, I will pick his aggression and passion, his energy which is tremendous to be honest. From Mahi bhai I will pick the composure, the calmness, remaining the same in every situation, and trying to see what new things one can add. From Rohit, I would pick that he lets the player decide what he wants to do,” Pandya had said then.
It sounded too cliched and too much of a stretch coming from someone who, by his own admission, had led only at Under-16 level. But captaining the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in their debut season, leading India to a 2-0 T20I series win against Ireland in June, and now stepping up for Rohit Sharma against West Indies is no joke.
India have used seven captains across the three formats this year and with Rohit Sharma’s problem with injury and his age, Hardik Pandya might become a better bait to lead India at least in the white ball format.