Former Oz spinner thinks Hardik should have captained India in SA T20Is

Hardik Pandya is India’s vice-captain for the five-match T20I series against South Africa.

Photo: ANI

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • India is currently engaged in a five-match T20I series against South Africa.
  • In the absence of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant is leading the side.
  • Hardik Pandya recently led Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title.
In the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Indian team management appointed premier batter KL Rahul as the captain of the Indian team for the ongoing five-match T20I series against South Africa. But on the eve of the first game, the right-handed batter got injured and was ruled out of the entire series. After which, star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant was asked to lead and all-rounder Hardik Pandya was made his deputy di lui.

Hardik has been in good form in recent months, and he recently led his IPL team, Gujarat Titans, to their first title. He impressed with his all-round show for the Ahmedabad-based side and finished as the leading run-getter for the team, besides saving his best di lui with the ball for the night of the final.

Due to his heroics for the Titans, Hardik made his comeback to the Indian team as well, after a long gap of seven months, and impressed with his finishing skills in the first match itself. In the opening T20I against the Proteas in Delhi, he remained unbeaten on 31 runs from 12 balls to help India post 211 runs on the board. But despite that, India failed to win the contest and suffered a heartbreaking defeat.

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Impressed by Hardik’s heroics and his growing stature in the Indian set-up, former Australian spinner Brad Hogg has reserved big praise for the 28-year-old and said that Hardik is the most valuable T20 cricketer going around in world cricket right now and India should have made him 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 a 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 one. 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, “Hogg added.

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India currently trail the five-match T20I series by 0-2 after the Temba Bavuma-led side won the second match as well, which was played in Cuttack on Sunday (June 12). They now have to win all the remaining three matches to save themselves from the embarrassment of losing the series at home.

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