Ravi Shastri backs Hardik Pandya to lead India’s T20I squad

Xtra Time Web Desk: Former Team India Head Coach Ravi Shastri on Wednesday said that there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain, and if his name is Hardik Pandya, then so be it.

“For T20 cricket, there is no harm in having a new captain. Because the volume of cricket is such that for one player, to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy. If Rohit is already leading in Tests and ODIs, there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it,” said Shastri during a virtual press conference by Prime Video.

Chetan Sharma led selection committee has picked a relatively young squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand with the likes of Umran Malik, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Sen getting an opportunity.

On being asked whether Umran Malik should be persisted with keeping in mind the 50 over World Cup next year and T20 World Cup in 2024, Shastri said, “He is one of the fastest bowlers in India and you saw what happened in the World Cup where genuine pace rattled opposition, whether it was Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, and Anrich Nortje. So, there is no substitute for genuine pace. Even if you are defending small totals so this is an opportunity for Umran, hopefully, he will learn from this exposure.”

The need of the hour in T20 format is for the teams to have more T20 specialists and India is no different. Shastri also echoed the same sentiment.

“I think that is the way forward, that should be the mantra. Identify and make that Indian side into a terrific fielding side and identify roles for these youngsters who can be fearless and play that kind of cricket without any kind of baggage,” signed off Shastri.