Veteran Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batter Kumar Sangakkara said that he believes Hardik Pandya is capable of becoming a good leader for India in T20I cricket after his success in the Indian Premier League with Gujarat Titans. Sangakkara also said that leading the national team is different but he backed the all-rounder to do well.
However, Hardik Pandya is the frontrunner to become India’s full-time captain, likely in T20I cricket. He has been named captain for a 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, starting January 3 at home as well. Hardik has also been given the vice-captaincy role in ODIs as well.
“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,” Kumar Sangakkara told the news agency PTI. “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.”
Hardik Pandya has already led India in 6 games against Ireland, West Indies and New Zealand and did quite well too. The T20I squad for the Sri Lanka series will see more young players as well. The likes of Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad are there for the spots in the top order while Suryakumar Yadav, who has been in sublime form, has been handed over the vice-captaincy as well.
“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,” Kumar Sangakkara concluded. “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.”