Hardik to replace Rohit? Shoaib Akhtar feels GT skipper is knocking on door to captain India

Former Pakistani pacemaker Shoaib Akhtar has praised Hardik Pandya for his tremendous leadership in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. Hardik led his team Gujarat Titans (GT) to the tournament final in their debut campaign this season. The Titans have risen to the top after playing brilliant group stage and playoff cricket and are hoping to cap a fairy tale run with their first IPL trophy.

Hardik has been instrumental as both a leader and an all-rounder in his franchise’s dream run in IPL 2022. The all-around star was drafted by Gujarat Titans ahead of the current season after being released by Mumbai Indians (MI). He was also named team captain and was one of the most outstanding leaders of this edition.

Gujarat Titans were the first team to qualify for the playoffs after reaching 18 points this season and the debutants also finished top of the standings with a total of 20 league points. They then beat Rajasthan Royals in the 1st Qualifier to secure a place in the final and will now be aiming for the trophy in the final.

Ahead of the final, Akhtar praised Hardik and made a bold statement saying the versatile star can be an ideal replacement for Rohit Sharma as India’s next captain in the future. Rohit recently took over from Virat Kohli as India’s captain in all three formats.

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However, the Hitman is currently 35 and his workload needs to be better managed to ensure he can continue playing at the highest level for longer. India will also be looking to nurture new leaders under Rohit with KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah among the top contenders to captain the team in the future.

However, Akhtar backed Hardik to take over as captain of India and said the GT skipper is already knocking on the door of the Indian captaincy with his rise as leader of the IPL 2022. is the fact that Hardik Pandya leaves a mark. He knocks on the door of the Indian captaincy. It is unclear how long Rohit Sharma will continue as captain,” Akhtar said on Sportskeeda.

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However, Akhtar also insisted that Hardik focus on his fitness and ensure he can contribute both batting and ball for the Indian team in the future. Hardik will return for the Men in Blue in the T20I home series against South Africa next month.

“It’s never easy to be the captain of the Indian cricket team. Hardik has proven his point (as a leader) but he still needs to focus on his fitness and his bowling. When fit as an all-rounder, he was an automatic choice in the Indian team. As a pure hitter, however, there is no vacancy in the Indian team,” Akhtar added.