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‘Hardik Pandya Should be First Choice to Lead Indian Team If Rohit Sharma Not Available’: Wasim Jaffer

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Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer feels that Hardik Pandya should be the first choice to lead the Indian team in white-ball format whenever regular skipper Rohit Sharma isn’t available for the selection. Hardik proved his captaincy abilities by leading Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League in the recently concluded season. It was the first time when Hardik got the opportunity to lead an IPL franchise and he passed it with flying colours.

The flamboyant all-rounder Hardik is appointed India’s captain for the two-match T20I series against Ireland later this month. Senior players including skipper Rohit, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah will be on the England tour at that time for the one-off Test match.

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Jaffer backed the 28-year-old and said he should be the prime contender to lead the Indian team in future.

“I think he deserves that. Going forward, Indian selectors should look at him seriously leading in white-ball cricket,” Jaffer said on ESPNcricinfo about Hardik being named captain.

“Specially if Rohit Sharma is not available, I think Hardik Pandya should be the first choice,” he said.

He further advised the selectors to appoint Pandya as Rohit’s deputy in white-ball cricket as he emphasized on the 28-year-old’s leadership qualities giving example of his show in IPL 2022 with Gujarat Titans.

“In my opinion, the way he led in the IPL, the way his own performances came through, he is someone who relishes that job and I think going forward, he’s probably my No.1 choice after Rohit Sharma. So, it does make sense that he’s leading the side,” Jaffer elaborated.

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“If Rohit is playing, I would like Hardik Pandya to be the vice-captain so any time when Rohit misses any game or any series (Hardik will get a chance),” Jaffer said.

“Hardik Pandya, especially in white-ball cricket, he’s somebody who enjoys that job and gets the best out of himself and others. He’s probably my next in line after Rohit Sharma,” Jaffer reiterated.

In IPL 2022, Pandya promoted himself in the batting order and showcased his talent at number 3 and 4 where he led his team from the front. While the flamboyant all-rounder is back with the finisher’s role in the Indian team for the ongoing T20I series against South Africa.

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