India vs Sri Lanka: Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara backed Hardik Pandya to emulate his IPL success with the captaincy of the T20I team. The legendary wicketkeeper also said it’s important to back youngsters when going through a transition.
- Hardik Pandya was named India’s T20I captain for 3-match series vs Sri Lanka
- Hardik frontrunner to take over India’s full-time T20I captaincy
- India will take on Sri Lanka at home from January 3
By PosterGuy: Legendary Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara said he believes Hardik Pandya is capable of becoming a good leader for India in T20I cricket after having watched him find success in the Indian Premier League with Gujarat Titans. Sangakkara said leading the national team is a different ball game altogether, but backed the Baroda all-rounder to shine at the highest level.
Hardik Pandya is the frontrunner to become India’s full-time captain, at least in T20I cricket. The Gujarat Titans skipper has been named captain for a 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, starting January 3 at home.
Hardik has also been elevated to vice-captaincy in ODI with BCCI top brass mulling handing over the white-ball duties to the all-rounder.
Rohit Sharma was not picked for the T20Is while the likes of KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were also not in the squad, led by Hardik Pandya. Despite Rahul’s return to the ODI squad, India have picked Hardik as Rohit’s deputy for a 3-match series against the visiting Sri Lanka team.
“There is no doubt that his leadership is excellent and we all saw that in IPL. Now he has to melt that with on-field captaincy at the national level. He has all qualities to be a leader although you don’t necessarily need to be a captain to be a leader,” Sangakkara told news agency PTI.
The former Sri Lanka captain, who led the team to the 2011 World Cup final, had a piece of advice to Hardik when it comes to being switched on and seizing crucial moments.
“Now captaincy on the field can be a different thing. To read moments, win moments and strategize, you have to be sharp, and I think Hardik has all ingredients to be a good captain.
“The hardest part is to inspire, talk and manage his players in a group together to play with a vision and the rest will come with experience, captaining in close games,” he added.
Hardik has already led India in 6 matches and found success on their tours of Ireland, West Indies and New Zealand.
‘TRANSITION IS A COMMON THEME’
The T20I squad for the Sri Lanka series seems to be a sign of things to come as the selectors are looking ahead, placing their bets on young guns in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in 2022.
The likes of Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad will are in contention for the spots in the top-order while Suryakumar Yadav, who was in imperious form in 2022, has been handed over the vice-captaincy.
Sangakkara pointed out that transition can take more time than expected but it’s important to back young players and give them a longer rope.
“Every side goes through difficult transitions and we saw that in Australia. Saw that in New Zealand for a considerable period some time back, even in England. So you have all these sides go through transition and difficulty is a common theme,” Sangakkara said.
“India has a throng of young players coming through so it is just about selecting the best among them and giving them a longer run.”
Also Read: Rishabh Pant needs to work on his wicket-keeping, says former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara