"If Something Happens To Rohit...": Ex-Star's Huge Take On India Captaincy

Rohit Sharma is the captain of the Indian cricket team across formats. He will be leading the side in the upcoming T20 World Cup as well.

May 3, 2024 - 13:45
"If Something Happens To Rohit...": Ex-Star's Huge Take On India Captaincy

Former Indian cricketer Pragyan Ojha wants Hardik Pandya to step up and play the role of a "true leader". Hardik was named as the vice-captain of India's 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup despite the clouds of criticism looming over him. Ojha showed his faith in Hardik's leadership skills and his all-round abilities, emphasising the importance of being mentally prepared to take charge if fate demanded. "I expect him to play like a leader because he is next in command. If something happens to Rohit, we don't want that, if anything happens, he (Hardik) will be leading the side, so he has to be prepared, he has to take that responsibility when he is batting," Ojha said to Jio Cinema.

The last time Hardik played for India was in the October 2023 ODI World Cup match against Bangladesh. Before the Indian Premier League 2024, he made a full recovery from an ankle ailment and was named captain of the five-time champions Mumbai Indians, replacing Rohit.

This invited a lot of social media criticism, which somewhere damaged the confidence of the all-rounder. He has managed to score 197 runs at an average of 150.38 in 10 games in the 2024 season so far. Only six wickets have been claimed by the all-rounder at an economy rate of 11.0.

Ojha, acknowledging Hardik's significance in the Indian setup, lauded his ability to provide balance to the team. Despite the IPL ordeal, Hardik's place in the T20 World Cup squad was never in doubt. His versatility as an all-rounder offered India the flexibility they needed, a fact not lost on selectors or fans.

"For me, he is someone who will create that balance for the side. Every time we talk about Indian team selection, Hardik's name always comes in. He creates that balance, he will give you that cushion. That you can have an extra batter or a bowler, wherever he is needed. That's what we want him to do, to be mentally ready for the World Cup and just forget what is happening in the IPL and focus on the World Cup, that is more important," Ojha added.

With Mumbai Indians languishing at the bottom of the points table with just three wins in ten games, Hardik faced relentless scrutiny and his captaincy came under fire. He was not only booed by the crowds across venues but was also criticised by the experts for his captaincy.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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