'Stamp him as India captain once…': Sunil Gavaskar names Rohit Sharma's successor but has one condition

Mar 15, 2023 10:17 AM IST

The possibility of Hardik Pandya being handed the leadership role looks eminent, considering his exploits both as stand-in India and Gujarat Titans skipper. Sunil Gavaskar is ready to ‘stamp’ him as India's next captain on one condition.

The Indian unit led by Rohit Sharma produced an impeccable show in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, winning the four-match Test series 2-1. Leading the side from the front, Rohit scored a superb century in the series opener in Nagpur as India won the first Test by an innings and 132 runs. Pumped with the comprehensive win, India once again rose to the occasion in Delhi, where they defeated the Kangaroos by six wickets to take an unassailable lead in the series.

India's captain Hardik Pandya, center, waves as he along with his teammates acknowledges the crowd(AP)
India's captain Hardik Pandya, center, waves as he along with his teammates acknowledges the crowd(AP)

With the Border-Gavaskar Trophy retained, India did try their best in the following encounter in Indore but this time it was the Aussies, who blew India away with their spirited display. The final Test, however, failed to produce any results as the contest, which was dominated by batters from both sides, turned out to be a dull affair but it was enough for India to lift the prestigious Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the fourth straight time.

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Now with the Tests done, the focus shifts to limited-overs cricket with a three-match ODI series lined-up against Australia starting from March 17. It will also be a great opportunity to keep up with their preparations for the ODI World Cup, which will be held in the country later this year.

However, ahead of the series, India did endure a major blow as Shreyas Iyer might not be available for the 50-over clashes after complaints of back pain, which also forced him out of final Test in Ahmedabad midway during the match.

Not just that but India will also miss the services of their regular skipper Rohit, who won't be available for the first ODI due to family commitments. In his absence, Hardik Pandya will hold the mantle and experts are optimistic that the Gujarat Titans will fulfil the role with flying colours.

One among the many experts was India's batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, who also went to make a bold claim regarding Pandya's captaincy. Gavaskar feels that it's a matter of months before Pandya will be handed the role entirely

“What you see with Hardik Pandya as a captain is a sense of comfort with the rest of the team. Maybe, it's the way he handles the players, puts his arm around the players… He just seems to give the players a sense of comfort. That’s so important to give a player a sense of comfort so that he can go and play his natural game. I think he encourages them, which is a wonderful sign," said Gavaskar during an interaction on Star Sports show Game Plan.

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He added: “The fact that he can be an impact player as well as a game changer in the middle order. Even for the Gujarat team, he was promoting himself up the order knowing that this is the time when the team needed some momentum and push, and he would do that. So, someone who is prepared to take on responsibility, lead from the front, and who will not ask the players to do something that he doesn't want to do himself, is highly crucial. So, when the players know that he's just not putting us over there because he doesn't want to be there, that he's gone through the fire and he wants us to go through the fire. So, that’s the key as far as Hardik Pandya is concerned.

"He has been an impressive captain. I have been very impressed with his captaincy at the T20 level for the Gujarat Titans and for India when he is captaining the T20 side. I do believe that if he wins the first game in Mumbai, then you can almost stamp him as the India captain once the World Cup is over in 2023.”

As Gavaskar highlighted, the possibility of Pandya being handed the leadership role looks eminent, considering his exploits both as stand-in India and Titans skipper.

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