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Friday, April 12, 2024

Hardik is fabulous as captain: VVS Laxman

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Wellington: India’s stand-in coach VVS Laxman on Thursday praised T20 Captain Hardik Pandya by saying he is a fabulous leader because it is not a mean achievement to win IPL in the very first year of Gujarat Titans in the tournament.

“He is a fabulous leader. We have seen what he has done with Gujarat Titans in the IPL. Taking leadership in the first year of the franchise in the tournament, and winning the league is not a mean achievement,” Laxman told reporters on the eve of the first T20 match against New Zealand here.

“I have spent a lot of time with him since the Ireland series, he is not only tactically sound, but he is very calm on the field and that is something which is very important at the highest level,” he added.

This is also for the first time Hardik will be seen leading India in this format, after his stints as captain during the T20Is against Ireland and West Indies.

Hardik has been in great form as an all-rounder. As a batsman, he scored 564 T20I runs in 2022 at an average and strike-rate of 33.17 and 146.49 respectively, which includes his courageous 63 runs knock made off just 33 balls in the T20 World Cup semifinal against England, which India lost.

He has also picked up 20 wickets in T20Is this year and that sums up how valuable an asset he has been for India in this format.

Hinting at a transition that India might go through soon, Laxman said, “After India’s crushing loss in the T20 World Cup semifinal against England, there are already talks that the Indian team management might opt for a totally new squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup while resting the senior players.”

On what makes a good T20 side, Laxman said it is important for the players to be flexible.

“I think in T20 cricket, you are required to express yourself and that is when you will be successful. I think T20 cricket has shown us over the years that the more multi-dimensional players you have, the better for the team. You have bowlers who can bat, and batsmen who can bowl, and that is the way forward,” he said.

This has already been proven in T20 cricket, the more number of bowlers who can bat will add depth to the team and it allows a lot of freedom for the batsmen to express themselves, Laxman said.

“That is the need for the format and I am sure more and more teams will try to get that into their selection process and identify players who are multi-dimensional players,” he added.

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