India's former cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar has praised Hardik Pandya for his leadership capabilities and predicted that the star all-rounder will be a game-changer for India in the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia. The first match is scheduled to be played on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Gavaskar, who was a part of India's legendary team in the 1970s and 1980s, said that Pandya gives the players a sense of comfort, which is crucial to help them play their natural game. He also lauded Pandya's ability to be an impact player as well as a game-changer in the middle order, citing his performance for Gujarat as an example.
"I have been very impressed with his captaincy at the T20 level for the Gujarat Titans and for India when he is captaining the T20 side. I do believe that if he wins the first game in Mumbai, then you can almost stamp him as the India captain once the World Cup is over in 2023," Gavaskar said.
India's regular captain Rohit Sharma will miss the first ODI due to family commitments, and Pandya will lead the side in his absence. Former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar expressed his hope that Sharma will be back for the remaining two ODIs as he is a crucial player and his record in white-ball cricket speaks for itself.
India recently won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-1 series win, and now the focus is on continuing their dominance at home and setting the right momentum with the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup on the horizon.