New Delhi. Hardik Pandya recently made Gujarat Titans IPL champions in his debut season under his captaincy. He came out to bat at number three and four for Gujarat throughout the season and scored the highest 487 runs at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of 131. Despite this, after his return to Team India, Hardik’s role will remain that of the match finisher. Head coach Rahul Dravid has made this clear before the T20 series against South Africa starting on Thursday.
Dravid said that it is not necessary that Hardik Pandya will bat at number three or four for the Indian team as well. He said, “There is no doubt that Hardik is an amazing player with both the ball and the bat. We have seen him perform well in both the departments for India in the past. He has been very successful in white ball cricket and he was seen in excellent form in the IPL. It is a matter of great pleasure for us that we can pick a player with qualities like Hardik.
Players can change roles as per need: Dravid
When the head coach of Team India was asked about the batting order in the first T20 against South Africa, he said, “I am not going to disclose the batting order before the start of the match. But in general, sometimes the role you play for your franchise matches the role you play for India. Sometimes you have to play a different role against other teams and it’s not just about Hardik. It is for all players, the roles they have played for their franchise may be different from what we are expecting here depending on our team combination.”
Hardik impressed everyone with his captaincy
Dravid was asked if he noticed any difference in Hardik after IPL. “I met him only a few hours ago,” he said with a laugh, as we gave the people playing in the IPL finals an extra day at home. So I can’t say anything for sure.”
‘There is no need to make a separate leader for leadership’
Will Hardik be a part of Team India’s leadership group going forward? Dravid did not say anything about this. But, he was impressed by Hardik’s captaincy. He said, “Definitely, Hardik’s leadership during the IPL was excellent. However, you do not have to be made a separate leader to be part of a leadership group. At this point of time, it is more important for us that he has started bowling again. We know what he does for the team and how strong the team becomes because of his presence. So it’s up to us to make sure that how we get the best out of Hardik as a cricketer in terms of bowling, batting and fielding.”
FIRST PUBLISHED : June 08, 2022, 07:45 IST