Aakash Chopra says Hardik Pandya’s DNA as skipper is already visible

Aakash Chopra pointed out that Hardik Pandya’s captaincy style is clearly evident in his limited time in charge of Team India and Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Hardik has led the men in blue in T20I cricket whenever Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant have been unavailable or rested. The all-rounder has already shown his leadership qualities by commanding the Titans to the IPL 2022 title in his first stint as skipper.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra dipped into the leadership approaches of the Indian players who have led the team in recent times. Regarding Hardik, he said:

“Hardik Pandya has only been captain for a year, but you can already see the DNA of his role as captain. He frees the team and maintains a great environment. He comes across as a very astute captain.”

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Chopra pointed out that Hardik is adept at managing his bowling resources. The former India fly-half explained:

“He knows who to bowl when, he even keeps spinners till the end and gets wickets. He did that in the West Indies recently, where he withheld overs from Kuldeep and Ravi Bishnoi until so late, as if he knew they would pick up three wickets a piece.”

Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Bishnoi ran through the West Indian batting lineup in the final T20I of the recently concluded five-game series. While the left-arm wrist-spinner finished with numbers of 3/12 in his four overs, the latter scalped four wickets for just 16 carries.

‘His own game has improved tremendously’ – Aakash Chopra on Hardik Pandya’s performance as skipper

Hardik Pandya has taken on more responsibility as a hitter lately
Hardik Pandya has taken on more responsibility as a hitter lately

Chopra added that there has been a marked improvement in Hardik’s game since he took on the skipper’s hat. He observed:

“He’s very, very smart. The intelligence and the confidence show. His own game has improved tremendously, which was also the case with Virat Kohli, to be honest.”

Chopra pointed out that the similar natures of Hardik and Ashish Nehra helped the cause of the Titans in IPL 2022. The famous commentator explained:

“He seems to have his own style – carefree – and he made the whole team carefree, but with the certainty that you are an extremely important part of the team. That’s why the partnership of Hardik Pandya and Ashish Nehra worked very well, so he has his signature, which I liked a lot.”

Chopra concluded by believing that Hardik is slightly ahead of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant as Team India’s future white ball skipper.

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Edited by Sai Krishna