Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar said that Hardik Pandya is “knocking on the door of the Indian captaincy” after the all-rounder has left his mark on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 with his leadership qualities. Making an impressive captaincy debut, Hardik has guided debutants GT to IPL 2022 final, where they’ll be facing Rajasthan Royals at the Narendra Modi stadium on 29 May. Apart from his leadership qualities, Hardik is also GT’s leading run-scorer so far this season with 453 runs in 14 matches, striking at an average of 45.30.
“It is a fact that Hardik Pandya is leaving a mark. He is knocking on the door of Indian captaincy. One is not sure how long Rohit Sharma will continue as captain,” he said during an interaction on Sportskeeda.
Akhtar, however, said that Hardik needs to focus on his fitness and bowling, adding that it’ll be difficult for the 28-year-old to find a place in the Indian team solely as a batsman.
“It’s never easy to captain the Indian cricket team. Hardik has proved his point (as a leader) but he still needs to focus on his fitness and bowling. When he was fit as an all-rounder, he was an automatic choice in the Indian team. As a pure batsman, though, there is no vacancy in the Indian team,” he added.
GT qualified for the playoffs after finishing the league stage as table-toppers with 10 wins from 14 games. In Qualifier 1, GT defeated RR by 7 wickets to book their place in the final.