- Sinchan Saha | March 14, 2023 | 1:23 pm
When Hardik Pandya had an opportunity to captain limited-overs cricket in the absence of Rohit Sharma, he consistently impressed with his leadership abilities.
With his explosive batting and medium-pace bowling, Pandya is an important middle order player. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar is of the opinion that the all-rounder will change the game for India in the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia.
The concentrate currently moves to the ODIs after India held Line Gavaskar Prize 2-1 with the series opener being played on Friday at the Wankhede Arena in Mumbai.
In the absence of Rohit, who will be absent due to family obligations, Pandya will lead the Indian team in the first one-day international. After the World Cup, Gavaskar sees it as an opportunity for Pandya to claim a leadership position in one-dayers as well.
The 29-year-old all-rounder currently holds the lead for India in the shortest format and captained the Gujarat Titans to a title win in their inaugural season of the Indian Premier League 2022
“I have been very impressed with his captaincy at the T20 level for the Gujarat Titans and for India when he is captaining the T20 side. I do believe that if he wins the first game in Mumbai, then you can almost stamp him as the India captain once the World Cup is over in 2023,”Gavaskar told Star Sports.
Gavaskar said Pandya’s presence in the middle-order is essential for India.
“He can be an impact player as well as a game changer in the middle-order. Even for the Gujarat team, he was promoting himself up the order knowing that this is the time when the team needed some momentum and push, and he would do that. So, someone who is prepared to take on responsibility, lead from the front, and who will not ask the players to do something that he wants to do himself, is highly crucial,”Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar added that Pandya’s captaincy style also makes him a favorite among the players.
“What you see with Hardik Pandya as a captain is a sense of comfort with the rest of the team. Maybe, it’s the way he handles the players, puts his arm around the players… He just seems to give the players a sense of comfort. That’s so important… to give a player a sense of comfort so that he can go and play his natural game. I think he encourages them, which is a wonderful sign.”he added.
Meanwhile, former India player and commentator Ajit Agarkar has backed Rohit to fire with the bat once he links up with the Indian squad.
“His record speaks for itself. You do not need to say anything about Rohit’s performance in white ball cricket. He has taken a slightly different approach at times, trying to be the aggressor at the top of the order,”Agarkar said.
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“Maybe, he changed it a little bit in the last series, giving himself a little more time and got the hundred. I just hope he plays every game that India plays from now on, every one-day, because you want your captain out there to just have a pattern of play,”he added.