‘Yes why not?’ Hardik Pandya becomes full-time captain

Hardik Pandya clinched gold in his first season as Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 captain, he then led India to a 2-0 series win over Ireland, and now on Sunday in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma, he led India to a landslide 88-point victory with a superb performance from their spinners in Lauderhill, Florida to complete a 4-1 series win.

In the post-match presentation, Hardik, who led the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in the team and his first season earlier this year, admits 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 up, it’s about improving as a team,’ said the 28-year-old.

A few months ago, few people supported him as captain, there were even some mockery, but he led the Gujarat Titans with skill, passion and composure.

During a media interaction ahead of the IPL auction in February, Pandya explained how he wanted to create his own legacy on his own terms in a new franchise.

“From Virat, I will look for his aggressiveness and his passion, his energy which is huge to be honest. From Mahi bhai, I will choose composure, calmness, remaining the same in all situations and trying to see what new things one can add. From Rohit, I would choose that he let the player decide what he wants to do,” Pandya said at the time.

It seemed too cliche and too over the top coming from someone who, by his own admission, had only led at Under-16 level. But steering the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in their debut season, leading India to a 2-0 T20I series win over Ireland in June, and now bolstering Rohit Sharma against West Indies is not a joke.

India have used seven captains in all three formats this year and with Rohit Sharma’s injury problem and his age, Hardik Pandya could become better bait to lead India at least in the white ball format.