IPL 2022
Shoaib Akhtar Feels Hardik Pandya Can Become Future Captain Of India
By CricShots - May 29, 2022 10:35 pm
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 witnessed some new skippers and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya surprised one and all with his leadership skill throughout the 15th season as he led Gujarat Titans (GT) to the final of the tournament despite it being the franchise’s maiden season. Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar seems to be impressed with Hardik’s captaincy this season, and has even backed him to emulate the role for Team India, but has also issued a stern warning.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya was one of the crucial cogs for Mumbai Indians (MI) when they won three trophies between the 2018-2021 phase, but after being released by the franchise at the end of the 14th IPL season, he was roped in by Gujarat Titans and appointed as the captain as well. Under his captaincy, Gujarat finished top of the table before beating Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Qualifier 1 to reach the final.

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During a recent chat with Sportskeeda, Shoaib Akhtar admitted that Hardik has left a mark with his impressive captaincy and is the potential future leader of Team India, but stressed that he needs to look after his fitness and bowl a lot. He added that if Hardik hopes to make the India squad solely as a batter, it will be difficult for the 28-year-old to find a spot.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar explained, “It is the fact that Hardik Pandya is leaving a mark. He is knocking on the door of Indian captaincy. One is not sure how long Rohit Sharma will continue as captain.”

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He further added, “It’s never easy to captain the Indian cricket team. Hardik has proved his point (as a leader) but he still needs to focus on his fitness and bowling. When he was fit as an all-rounder, he was an automatic choice in the Indian team. As a pure batter, though, there is no vacancy in the Indian team.”

Besides a skipper, Hardik Pandya also capped off a memorable season as a batter, scoring 453 runs at an average of 45.30 and a strike rate of 132.84. He also bowled in the first half of the season with five wickets at an economy rate of 7.73.