Ravi Shastri wants Hardik Pandya as new T20 Captain

Former India head coach urges a divided captaincy between Rohit and Hardik Pandya.

In order to lessen the burden on Rohit Sharma, who now captains India in all three formats, Ravi Shastri thinks it would be “no damage” for India to investigate the option of having a new T20I captain in the form of Hardik Pandya.

Following the World Cup in Australia, the selectors rested the senior players, leaving Hardik Pandya in charge of the Indian T20I team in New Zealand. He took on the position for the first time in Ireland earlier this year after leading the IPL’s inaugural Gujarat Titans to victory.

“For T20 cricket, there is no harm in having a new captain,” Shastri told select media during an interaction facilitated by Prime Video ahead of the first T20I in Wellington on Friday. “Because the volume of cricket is such, that for one player to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy. If Rohit is already leading in Tests and ODIs, there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it.”

In addition, Shastri agreed with VVS Laxman that India shouldn’t be reluctant to select specialists for the shortest format, even if doing so excludes “certain senior players.”

“I think that is the way forward,” Shastri said. “I think VVS is right. They will identify specialists. Going forward, that should be the mantra. Identify and make that Indian side into a terrific fielding side and identify roles for these youngsters who can be fearless and play that kind of cricket without any kind of baggage.”

He also said, “I wouldn’t like to point out anything, but there’s an opportunity with this team in the future to identify roles for players, identify match-winners, and go pretty much on the template of England,” he said. “They are one team that really caught the bull by the horns after the 2015 World Cup. They sat down and said they are going to identify the best players for that format of the game – whether it’s T20 or 50-over cricket.

“Which meant if there were certain senior players who had to sit out, then so be it.”

“They got in youngsters who were fearless, who could adapt to that pattern of the game without having to change their games too much. So it’s a template that can be followed easily; India have got a wealth of resources. And I think it can start from this tour. Because when you look at this team, it’s a fresh, young side. You can identify, you can groom, and you can take this team ahead in two years’ time.”
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