For star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, 2022 has been a transformative year. Shedding doubts about his fitness, ability to bowl and whether he still deserved a spot in the Indian lineup, he led Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League season in their debut campaign and what was indeed his maiden campaign as a captain. And now, he is all set to captain India in the two-match T20 International series against Ireland later this month. And former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer feels that the selectors made the right choice in picking him as the captain and said that the all-rounder would be his first preference to lead India in Rohit Sharma’s absence.
“I think he deserves that. Going forward, Indian selectors should look at him seriously leading in white-ball cricket,” Jaffer said on ESPNcricinfo about Hardik being named captain.
“Specially if Rohit Sharma is not available, I think Hardik Pandya should be the first choice,” he said.
“In my opinion, the way he led in the IPL, the way his own performances came through, he is someone who relishes that job and I think going forward, he’s probably my No.1 choice after Rohit Sharma. So, it does make sense that he’s leading the side,” Jaffer elaborated.
“If Rohit is playing, I would like Hardik Pandya to be the vice-captain so any time when Rohit misses any game or any series (Hardik will get a chance),” Jaffer said.
“Hardik Pandya, especially in white-ball cricket, he’s somebody who enjoys that job and gets the best out of himself and others. He’s probably my next in line after Rohit Sharma,” Jaffer reiterated.
KL Rahul was supposed to lead India in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa, but a groin injury ruled him out and Rishabh Pant was named skipper, with Hardik his deputy.
However, after the South Africa series, Pant is set to join the Test squad ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test in Birmingham.
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