Harbhajan Singh Sees Hardik Pandya as a Future India Captain
Singh also said that he hopes Dinesh Karthik can replicate his RCB form in Indian colours.
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While the lack of form for the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been a concern for everyone involved with Indian cricket, it is the comeback kings Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik who have been the talk of the town.
Hardik had his first go with captaincy in the IPL in 2022 and finished up with the trophy whereas DK, who had been out of the reckoning for a while, found new life at Royal Challengers Bangalore, and was back to his explosive best in the role of a finisher.
Both comebacks have left fans, experts, and former players lifting their jaws off the floor.
“Hardik’s been brilliant. I think he had back issues and a lot of hard work has gone in. And the way he has made a comeback, not just as a player but as a captain, he’s been unbelievable for the Gujarat Titans,” Harbhajan Singh told The Quint on the sidelines of a Fanatic Sports event.
Hardik was among the top performers for the Titans, finishing the IPL season as the highest run-getter for the team and then coming up trumps with a fiery spell in the final match.
“Winning the maiden title, not just for Gujarat, but proving a point that he can also be in the running for captaincy going forward. He showed a lot of calmness and scored those runs, took the team forward by taking responsibility by bowling those crucial overs, and coming and batting at number 3,” Singh said.
“I hope he continues to work hard, and yes, he has the potential to lead India,” he added.
While Hardik was fantastic in the colours of the new franchise, Dinesh Karthik, who spent a lot of time at KKR, moved to RCB this season. And, goodness gracious, did he find a new lease of life – the bowlers mind you, didn’t enjoy seeing this.
“He’s been brilliant too. Even last year when he was playing for KKR, you know he just wanted to push himself for the last time and see if he can make it to the Indian side. I am so happy. I hope he will continue to play for as many years as he wants to now and go on his own terms. He was brilliant in the IPL and if he can do the same job for Team India, what he’s done for RCB, it’ll be great," Singh said.
The question that’s been on a lot of minds has been how and where does DK fit into the Indian XI. Imagine a batting order with Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and DK to finish off an innings in T20s.
Is 'Kul-Cha' India's Trump Card?
IPL 2022 also saw another KKR man move to a different franchise and do well. Kuldeep Yadav, who was troubled and out of sorts at KKR in recent years, bounced back with some fantastic performances in the IPL with the Delhi Capitals. And if Kuldeep was doing it for DC, could his dear friend and bowling partner Yuzvendra Chahal be far away? The right-arm spinner won the Purple Cap and picked 27 wickets in IPL 2022.
The pair’s performances meant India had to pick them, and thus the Rahul Dravid-coached side brought 'Kul-Cha' back in business for the South Africa series. This would've been the first time that the duo featured together since 2019; however, an injury has unfortunately ruled the left-arm spinner out of the series.
“It’s good to see them together. They’ll be bowling in tandem and hopefully they’ll be taking wickets like they’ve done before and taking the team forward. This was probably something India missed in the last couple of years. They were not able to restrict the teams and take those important wickets in the middle overs. It’s good to see two wicket-takers in the team and I hope they’ll get to play together. They’re champion bowlers,” the legendary off-spinner said and signed off.
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