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Rohit Sharma’s replacement? Hardik Pandya ready to become India’s next T20I captain

Rohit Sharma’s replacement? Hardik Pandya ready to become India’s next T20I captain

Despite a small sample size (61 matches), Hardik Pandya is the second-best IPL and Indian T20I captain of all time.

June 29 was the greatest day of Rohit Sharma’s cricketing career. 17 years after winning the inaugural T20 World Cup, he’d finally gotten his hands on the second cup. That victory in 2007 came when he was in the infancy of his career, but the 2024 T20 World Cup trophy would mean much more as he reaches the end. Soon after the victory, Rohit and Virat Kohli announced that they were stepping away from the format. 

Most difficult job in cricket: Finding a captain

Everyone bid the master chaser, Kohli, goodbye. Remembering the records he’d broken and how he carried the team on multiple occasions. For Rohit, it was different. Not only is Team India losing one of their best batters, but also their captain. With players like Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Abhishek Sharma waiting in the wings, they have plenty of options for openers, but finding a leader fit to lead a team isn’t an easy task.

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Teams have always found it tough to replace a successful captain. England is still struggling since Eoin Morgan left in 2021; Australia was troubled for years when Michael Clarke left in 2015; and it wasn’t until Pat Cummins took over in 2021 that things felt fine. However, India is lucky. Rohit Sharma may be stepping away from T20Is, but he already has a successor who’s had success in the format, Hardik Pandya.

Hardik Pandya’s proven track record as T20 captain

Hardik made his captaincy debut two years ago with the Gujarat Titans. In his first year as skipper, he won 12 of the 16 matches and lifted the trophy. Following his success as an IPL captain, he led a young Indian team in Ireland. In early 2023, he led the Men in Blue to series victories over Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

In the IPL 2023 season, Hardik took the Gujarat Titans to another final and won 11 of the 17 matches. He lost a tight series to the West Indies in August 2023, but he still has a stellar T20I record as India’s captain and is a proven IPL captain despite his horrific 2024 season.

Hardik Pandya’s T20 captaincy record

FormatMatchesWonLostWin %
T20Is1610662.50
IPL45261957.77

Only Sachin Tendulkar has a better win percentage (58.82) than Hardik Pandya among IPL captains who’ve led in 45 or more matches. Similarly, of the Indian captains who led the team in 10 or more matches, only Rohit Sharma has a better win percentage (79.03).

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