'Should've been captain ahead of Rahul': Ex-Australia spinner names India star 'most valuable T20 player in the world'
KL Rahul had originally been named captain of the Indian team for the five-match T20I series against South Africa before he got injured and was ruled out.
Rishabh Pant made his debut as India's captain during the first T20I against South Africa in New Delhi. He was originally going to be vice-captain in the series with KL Rahul leading but the latter was ruled out for the series with an injury. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to victory in their first ever Indian Premier League (IPL) season itself earlier this year, is Pant's vice-captain.
Pandya's stature saw a resurgence during the IPL thanks to his all-round performances, particularly batting up the order, in addition to his captaincy. He seemed to find no problem in getting back to being a finisher during the first T20I as well and former Australia spinner Brad Hogg has said that India should have made Pandya the captain ahead of Rahul.
“Hardik Pandya should be captain of this T20 team in front of Rahul. He proved his worth in the IPL. He wants those tough moments when the team’s back is against the wall. He wants to go out there and deliver, whether it’s with bat or ball.” said Hogg in a video on Instagram.
“The other night (1st T20I), he came in during those final overs and was able to find the boundary from ball 1. Not too many people can do that. And he can go up and do the job at the top of the order if they lose early wickets as well. He is the most valuable T20 cricketer going around in world cricket right now," he said.
India are looking to bounce back in the five-match series after losing the first T20I by seven wickets. The second T20I will be played in Cuttack on Sunday.