There has been no looking back for Hardik Pandya since he led Gujarat Titans to an IPL triumph in their maiden appearance last year, and the new Indian T20I skipper credits his franchise coach Ashish Nehra for making “a big difference” to his captaincy. Coming back from a long injury layoff, the premier all-rounder was made the Gujarat skipper in a bold move by the first-timers. But Pandya, who had led only once at senior level in a tour game against Australia, proved his detractors wrong and led by example.
Thoughts in tandem
“What has been very important from Gujarat point of view is the kind of coach I worked with. Ashish Nehra made a big difference in my life, because of our mindsets. We might be two different personalities, but we have very similar cricketing thoughts,” Pandya said after leading India to a 2-1 series win over Sri Lanka here on Saturday.
“Because I was with him, it added va lue to my captaincy. It helped me to get exactly what I know. It was just about getting that assurance, once I got that… the awareness of this game I always knew. It was all about knowing and backing what I knew already. It has definitely helped me,” he added.
Precedent for the future?
Before the home series against Sri Lanka, the Indian selectors overhauled the side after the Rohit Sharma-led team failed to win the T20I World Cup in Australia, losing to eventual champions England in the semifinal.
Prior to this series, Pandya had led India’s T20I side whenever Rohit was unavailable.
“I’ve never led in junior cricket as well. When I was under-16 I led Baroda. After that everyone thought that I should focus on my game. Since then, I’ve not led (a side),” Pandya added.