Hardik Pandya’s stars are shining bright. A victory for his team Gujarat Titans in the just-concluded IPL has helped him rise above the rest and stake claim for Team India captainship.
After little master Sunil Gavaskar, it was former England captain Michael Vaughan who backed Pandya as Team India One-Day captain in the coming years. The stylish English batsman said if the Indian selectors are looking for someone to lead the side in a couple of years then they shouldn’t “look past” Hardik.
Under Pandya, the Gujarat franchise finished the tournament with the top spot on the table with 20 points. The debutant team then went on to defeat Rajasthan Royals twice – first in the Qualifier 1 and then in the big final – to become winners of the first Tata IPL trophy.
Also read: IPL-2022: Gujarat Titans takes out victory parade on open-top bus
Pandya was named the ‘Player of the Match’ for his brilliant performance. Earlier, several other former players including Virender Sehwag and Ravi Shatri lauded Hardik’s captaincy in the IPL 2022.
“Fantastic achievement for a new franchise… If India need a captain in a couple of years I wouldn’t look past @hardikpandya7… Well done Gujurat .. #IPL2022,” Vaughan tweeted.
Rohit Sharma is currently the Indian captain across formats, having taken over from Virat Kohli.
The 28-year-old Hardik’s leadership skills was lauded by former and current players, including former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and GT team mentor Gary Kirsten.
Hardik, who has amassed 487 runs and taken 8 wickets, was simply sensational in the final as Gujarat limited a formidable Rajasthan Royals batting unit to 130 for nine.
He also scored a crucial 34 before Shubman Gill and David Miller remained unbeaten on 45 and 32 to take the team home in 18.1 overs.
It should have been a comfortable chase but Rajasthan bowled their hearts out to make it an interesting final. As they showed throughout the season, Gujarat remained calm in tough situations to finish the chase in 18.1 overs.
Not many gave Gujarat a chance in their first season especially after a mixed auction where they waited till the end to secure the services of wicketkeepers Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade.
It was not a team studded with star players, but Hardik impressed with his leadership and got the best out of his colleagues.