Exclusive: Hardik Pandya Frontrunner for ODI Captaincy After Rohit Sharma
Hardik Pandya celebrates India’s win over New Zealand (Hardik Pandya Twitter)
Hardik Pandya is the front-runner for ODI captaincy after Rohit Sharma, having led India to 7 wins out of 8 T20I matches as captain
Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian cricket team in the upcoming 50-over World Cup later this year but should he reconsider his position after the tournament, the BCCI is looking at Hardik Pandya to succeed Rohit as the ODI skipper.
No official word on it yet but Hardik is most likely to lead India in the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2024 and the ODI responsibility could well come his way after the 2023 World Cup.
“Right now, Rohit is the man to lead India in the World Cup this year but we must plan about what next. Just can’t wait for things to happen and then react. Just in case Rohit decides to let go of the ODI format or captaincy post the 2023 World Cup, we need to have a plan in place,” a senior board official tells News18 Cricketnext.
The growing stock of Hardik the captain makes him the overwhelming favorite to take over captaincy from Rohit in the ODI format. The all-rounder rose to captaincy fame with his exploits with Gujarat Titans in their inaugural Indian Premier League season and has been very impressive in his stint as T20I captain in the recent bilateral series.
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“Hardik is doing well as captain. He is young and will only get better. For now, there is no better option than him to be looked at post Rohit. He must be backed and given a long and consistent rope,” adds the official.
Out of the eight T20Is he has led India in, the Men in Blue have lost just once and the 29-year-old’s captaincy has impressed the men who matter in the board.
India recently won the T20I series vs Sri Lanka 2-1 under his captaincy and will next take on New Zealand in both the ODIs and T20Is. Hardik will continue to lead the side in the shortest format while Rohit will lead in the ODIs for the home assignment.
At least in white-ball formats, the board is keen to have a seamless transition plan in place where the successor is ready before taking over responsibilities. While this year will be all about 50-over preparations, the focus shifts to the shortest format for the T20 World Cup.
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With so much 50-over cricket happening, the regulars across formats are likely to not feature in the bilateral T20s and will most certainly play the T20s during IPL now.
This allows Hardik to build the core of the T20 squad with youngsters and also identify players for the World Cup next year.
We have already seen someone like Shivam Mavi entering the scene and Prithvi Shaw too returned to the T20I setup for the home T20I series vs New Zealand.
The bowling pool is only getting better and bigger in the format and the team wears a fresh look under Pandya.
The calendar for 2023 is packed with the ongoing home series vs New Zealand, the Border Gavaskar Trophy series vs Australia, the Indian Premier League 2023 edition, Asia Cup in September, and then the ODI World Cup later this year.
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Hardik would want to keep his workload in check too because he is a crucial figure in the 50-over set-up and the future leader in both formats.
Not in the Test scheme of things, but Pandya will play the IPL after the New Zealand series and will also feature in the Asia Cup before the World Cup in October-November.
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