'They'll have to...' - Irfan points out 'crucial' factor if Hardik Pandya becomes India's long-term skipper

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 02, 2023, 03:14 PM IST
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Hardik Pandya is being looked up to as Rohit Sharma's successor. Former all-rounder Irfan Pathan has mentioned a crucial factor if Hardik is given the added responsibility of leading the national side:

Last week, the BCCI selection committee announced India's white-ball squads for the home T20Is versus Sri Lanka, which gets underway on January 03 in Mumbai. Hardik Pandya was named the T20I captain whereas regular skipper Rohit Sharma will return from a thumb injury to take charge of the ODI line-up versus the Lankans. While nothing has been revealed whether Hardik is set to become the next T20I captain, it is believed that the official announcement will follow suit sometime later this year (with seniors focused on 2023 ODI World Cup). Moreover, he is also being touted as Rohit's successor in limited-overs. He is also named as the ODI vice-captain despite KL Rahul's presence (who held onto the post for a year until the recent squad announcement).

Hardik has impressed many with his calm demeanour as captain -- especially during IPL 2022 for the eventual champions Gujarat Titans. As a result, he has led India on a few occasions last year. While talks are on with many supporting Hardik as a long-term captaincy option, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has pointed out a crucial factor which needs to be taken into consideration before promoting the 29-year-old all-rounder. 

Speaking during an interaction on Star Sports, Pathan said, "The captaincy Hardik has done, whether it was for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL or at the start for India, I felt the communication was extremely good. He was seen as very agile." He added, "When there was talk about his captaincy, I was extremely impressed with his approach but along with that India will have to keep in mind that if you are making him the long-term captain, they will have to concentrate a lot on his fitness, whether you talk about him or the team management. It will be very crucial going ahead."

Hardik will lead a young T20I team when India take on Sri Lanka in the series opener on Tuesday (January 03) in Mumbai. It will be the start of a new era with many senior players not being part of the series. It will be interesting to see how Hardik manages himself and continues to perform the role of an all-rounder when leading the side (he bowled in excess of 30 overs and batted at No. 4 mostly during IPL 2022) as he continues to make rapid strides as a leader.

India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.