Ahead of the series against New Zealand, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri said that there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain, and if his name is Hardik Pandya, then so be it.
Team India would be without their senior pros in the upcoming white-ball series against New Zealand, beginning Friday in Wellington and this series would bring an opportunity for the likes of Sanju Samson, Umran Malik, and Ishan Kishan to show their capability. Hardik Pandya would lead the side in the T20Is and Shikhar Dhawan would captain in the ODIs. Ahead of the series, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri said that there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain, and if his name is Hardik Pandya, then so be it.
“For T20 cricket, there is no harm in having a new captain. Because the volume of cricket is such that for one player, to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy. If Rohit is already leading in Tests and ODIs, there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it,” said Shastri during a select media call organised by Prime Video.
Umran Malik has been named in the squads for the white-ball series against New Zealand, and both Zaheer Khan and Ravi Shastri believe that this experience will hold him in good stead.
“The variety in your pace attack is a must and you have seen teams following that kind of pattern. You need a left-arm bowler, you need someone who can swing the ball, you need someone who is an out-and-out fast bowler. If everything is in one package, then even better but if not, you would like to use the variety in your attack in the bowling lineup and use different conditions well. Umran has been a very exciting talent and this kind of exposure is definitely going to help him, it is about how he takes things forward if he wants to grab the spot consistently,” said Zaheer while replying to an NDTV question.
Answering the same question, Shastri said: “He is one of the fastest bowlers in India and you saw what happened in the World Cup where genuine pace rattled opposition, whether it was Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, and Anrich Nortje. So, there is no substitute for genuine pace. Even if you are defending small totals so this is an opportunity for Umran, hopefully, he will learn from this exposure.”
Earlier in the day, VVS Laxman, head coach for the series against New Zealand, spoke about how there would be more T20 specialists playing for India in the shortest format.
Shastri, who has been a head coach of India, also echoed the same sentiment, saying: “I think that is the way forward, I think VVS is right. They will identify specialists. Going forward, that should be the mantra. Identify and make that Indian side into a terrific fielding side and identify roles for these youngsters who can be fearless and play that kind of cricket without any kind of baggage.”
The India tour of New Zealand can be watched live and exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from November 18-30. The telecast for T20Is (November 18, 20, and 22) begins at 11 AM and for ODIs (November 25, 27, and 30), the telecast will begin at 6 am.