Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Hardik Pandya‘s captaincy style is clearly evident in the limited time he has been at the helm of Team India and the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Hardik has led the Men in Blue in T20I cricket whenever the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant have been either unavailable or rested. The all-rounder has already showcased his leadership skills by captaining the Titans to the IPL 2022 title in his maiden stint as skipper.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra delved into the leadership approaches of the Indian players who have captained the side in recent times. Regarding Hardik, he said:
“Hardik Pandya has captained for just one year but you can already see the DNA of his captaincy. He liberates the team and maintains an excellent environment. He is coming across as a very astute captain.”
Chopra pointed out that Hardik is adept at managing his bowling resources. The former Indian opener explained:
“He knows whom to bowl when, he even keeps spinners till the end and gets wickets. He did that in West Indies recently, where he held back Kuldeep and Ravi Bishnoi’s overs till so late as though he knew that they will pick up three wickets apiece.”
Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Bishnoi ran through the West Indian batting lineup in the final T20I of the recently concluded five-match series. While the left-arm wrist-spinner finished with figures of 3/12 in his four overs, the latter scalped four wickets for just 16 runs.
“His own game has improved immensely” – Aakash Chopra on Hardik Pandya’s performances as skipper
Chopra added that there has been a marked improvement in Hardik’s game since he donned the skipper’s hat. He observed:
“He is very very smart. The smartness and confidence are being seen. His own game has improved immensely, which was the case with Virat Kohli as well, to be honest.”
Chopra highlighted that Hardik and Ashish Nehra’s similar natures helped the Titans’ cause in IPL 2022. The famous commentator elaborated:
“It seems he has his own style – happy-go-lucky – and he has made the entire team happy-go-lucky but with the confidence that you are an extremely important part of the team. That’s why Hardik Pandya and Ashish Nehra’s partnership worked extremely well. So he has his signature, which I liked a lot.”
Chopra concluded by opining that Hardik is slightly ahead of the likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant as Team India’s future white-ball skipper.
Q. Should Hardik Pandya be Team India’s white-ball captain after Rohit Sharma?