New Delhi. Former veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that leading the way and setting an example and the “zeal and positivity” make Indian Premier League title-winning captain Hardik Pandya a contender for the captaincy of the Indian national team in the near future.
The 28-year-old all-rounder is being touted as India’s future captain after leading Gujarat Titans to their IPL title in the very first season. Harbhajan said in an interview to PTI, “One of the biggest things about this year’s IPL has been Hardik Pandya as the captain of Gujarat Titans and the way he has led the team to the coveted title is commendable. He said, ‘His spirit and positive captaincy are indications that he can lead Team India in the future.’
After questioning the players bought by the Titans in the players’ auction, the experts did not consider the team as the contenders for the title, but under the leadership of Hardik, the team won the title by performing brilliantly. Captain Hardik impressed everyone with his captaincy. Apart from taking three wickets in the final against Rajasthan Royals, he also scored 34 runs. More than one lakh spectators were present to watch this match in the world’s largest stadium in Motera.
The former off-spinner, who has taken 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets against in-form Virat Kohli, said the fall in form is temporary and the veteran batsman will make a strong comeback soon. He said, ‘Kohli is such a cricketer who always gives his best when he is on the field. Looking at the wonderful cricket he has played over the years, I am sure he will be back soon.
For the five-match T20 International series against South Africa, the Indian team management is relying heavily on young players who have done exceptionally well in this year’s IPL. Harbhajan said this is a great opportunity for Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh to impress at the international level ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October-November.
The veteran spinner said, ‘This is a golden opportunity for these youngsters to do something special before this year’s ICC T20 World Cup. The team management has included young players in the squad this time against South Africa and they have the potential to do well before this prestigious competition.
Harbhajan, who became the first Indian to score a hat-trick in Test cricket in 2001 against Australia, said his eyes would be on leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s performance in the T20 series against South Africa. Chahal performed brilliantly in IPL-15 and won the Purple Cap (award for the highest wicket-taker).
He said, ‘Yuzvendra Chahal is in the best form of his life right now, he performed brilliantly in the IPL, taking 27 wickets which were the most wickets by any bowler in this season.’ On Dinesh Karthik’s strong comeback, Harbhajan lauded the 37-year-old veteran wicket-keeper batsman as a fighter whose spirit of never giving up earned him a place in the Indian team again.
Harbhajan said, “The kind of cricketer Dinesh Karthik is, at this stage of his career, he is just trying to prove that he is still capable of representing India.” “His commitment, attitude and most importantly, the fact that he believes he can still give a lot to the Indian cricket team is definitely commendable and thus he has certainly set an example,” he added. .’
FIRST PUBLISHED : June 09, 2022, 15:00 IST