India in New Zealand: Ravi Shastri weighs in on T20I captaincy debate, backs Hardik Pandya to succeed Rohit Sharma
India tour of New Zealand: Speaking ahead of the T20I series opener in Wellington, former head coach Ravi Shastri said it’s not easy for a player like Rohit Sharma to lead India across all 3 formats and there’s nothing wrong in having a new captain for T20Is.
Should Hardik Pandya take over from Rohit Sharma as India’s full-time T20I captain? (AP Photo)
By India Today Web Desk: Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has said there is no harm in trying out a new captain for T20Is in India, saying that Rohit Sharma has a lot on his plate, leading the senior men’s team across all formats of the game. Shastri backed frontrunner Hardik Pandya to take over the top job in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in 2024.
Hardik Pandya is gearing up to lead India in a 3-match T20I series, starting November 18 in Wellington. The former Mumbai Indians all-rounder has had a purple patch in his career ever since he returned from a lengthy break for IPL 2022. A few eyebrows were raised when he was appointed as the captain of new franchise Gujarat Titans but he led them in a triumphant campaign in the team’s first season.
Hardik has also been impressive when leading India in the limited opportunities he has got so far. The all-rounder has a 3-0 record, having led India to a series victory in Ireland and helping the team beat West Indies in the final match of a 5-match T20I series earlier this year.
“I think for T20 cricket, there’s no harm in having a new captain, because the volume of cricket is such that for one player to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy,” Shastri said in a virtual press conference organised by Prime Video.
“Rohit is already leading in one-days and test matches. There’s no harm in identifying a new T20 Captain, and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it.”
OVERSEAS LEAGUES FOR INDIA STARS?
The Gujarat Titans all-rounder is being seen as the frontrunner to replace Rohit Sharma as the full-time captain, especially after India’s semi-final exit at T20 World Cup 2022.
Rohit, 35, is expected to make way for a new captain in T20I cricket, considering the roadmap for the next World Cup, which is two years away. The senior campaigner’s focus will be on the 50-over World Cup, which will be held in India in October-November 2023.
Furthermore, Ravi Shastri said it’s absolutely fine that India players are not playing in overseas T20 leagues, adding that domestic cricket should also be their focus along with the IPL.
Shastri’s comments came days after head coach Rahul Dravid was asked the same question following India’s T20 World Cup exit. Dravid also said that India players featuring in overseas T20 leagues will have a negative impact on domestic cricket.
“They are absolutely fine playing IPL (Indian Premier League) and focusing on domestic cricket. We need them to play domestic cricket as well.”