Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is having a dream run as a leader in 2022. After being released by Mumbai Indians (MI) ahead of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Pandya was roped in as the captain of debutants Gujarat Titans (GT).
The 28-year-old justified the move and guided the Titans to the playoffs, and then propelled the Gujarat-based franchise to their maiden title triumph. Following the successful IPL season, Pandya made a comeback to Team India’s T20I squad.
Pandya was then appointed as skipper for the first time in the Ireland series, where the Men in Blue registered a clean sweep. He was once again appointed as the stand-in skipper of India in the recently-concluded fifth and final T20I against West Indies on Sunday.
Pandya led the team in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma, who was given rest for the dead rubber. The Baroda cricketer continued his impressive run as a leader, ensuring India’s 88-run win over the hosts at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Lauderhill.
Hardik scored a 16-ball 28 in Team India’s massive total of 188/7 after batting first, with Shreyas Iyer (64) being the top scorer for the tourists. In reply, West Indies were bundled out for a mere 100 as Hardik completed his third win as India captain.
After the contest, Hardik was asked whether he sees himself as a permanent Team India captain, to which the all-rounder responded positively and expressed his intentions to lead India.
“Yeah! why not? If I get an opportunity in the future, I’ll be more than happy to do that, but right now, we have the World Cup, and we have the Asia Cup [coming up],” said Hardik in the post-match presentation.
“We’re going to focus on that and make sure as a team what we’re doing, we continue [with that] and make sure that all the skillsets, which we are learning we can keep getting better at it, and at the same point of time enjoy the game as well,” he added.