Hardik Pandya
India's Hardik Pandya. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: Hardik Pandya will be leading India in the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka and with his captaincy in the recent series, there are talks that he should be given captaincy on a permanent basis.

After spending many months on the sidelines due to a back injury, Pandya made a splendid return to cricket in IPL 2022. He showed his prowess as a captain by leading Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title in their maiden campaign and also led the Men in Blue to a 1-0 win against hosts New Zealand in the T20I series in absence of Rohit Sharma.

Rohit’s failure as a captain to win the T20 World Cup in Australia and Hardik’s success in 2022 have raised calls for giving the star-allrounder T20I captaincy on a permanent basis.

With Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul absent from the T20 squad, the upcoming series against Sri Lanka will also be a test for Pandya - the all-rounder and his role as a finisher.

Fitness issues

But former Indian all-rounder Ifan Pathan has warned the national selectors to keep one thing in mind when giving the captaincy to Pandya - keep a close watch on the fitness of the Gujarat Titans’ captain.

“The captaincy Hardik has done, whether it was for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL or at the start for India, I felt the communication was extremely good. He was seen as very agile,” Pathan said during an interaction on Star Sports.

“When there was talk about his captaincy, I was extremely impressed with his approach but along with that India will have to keep in mind that if you are making him the long-term captain, they will have to concentrate a lot on his fitness, whether you talk about him or the team management. It will be very crucial going ahead,” he added.

With his back problem might return to trouble him again, it seems the Indian team management and selectors will have to be very careful when putting too much pressure on Hardik Pandya.