Opener Shikhar Dhawan & all-rounder turned specialist batsman Hardik Pandya can emerge as contenders for captaining team India during the Sri-Lanka tour if Shreyas Iyer doesn’t get fit for the limited-overs tour of Sri-Lanka in July.
India’s limited-overs squad will play three T20Is & three ODIs in Sri-lanka during the second half of July when Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma will be in England for the five-match test series. “It is still not clear if Shreyas will recover fully and will be match-fit in time for a tour of Sri Lanka. Normally, a surgery of this scale along with rest, extensive rehab, and training to get back in shape takes around four months,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“In case Shreyas was available, he would have been the automatic choice for captaincy,” the senior BCCI source added.
It’s only logical that the two contenders for captaincy are 35-year-old Dhawan, who has had good “one and half IPLs” in last two seasons and Pandya junior, who is one of the most accomplished match-winners.
“Shikhar has had two very good IPL including this curtailed one and being the senior-most among those who are available for selection, he is a very strong contender. Also, he has been a solid performer for India for the past eight years,” an official said.
As Hardik Pandya is concerned, his spectacular performance in the white-ball format can’t be ignored at all. Speaking about Hardik as one of the contenders to lead India, the BCCI Official said, “Yes, Hardik hasn’t been regularly bowling for MI or India in recent times. However, he is the man with x-factor and among options available”.
“He is miles ahead of his peers in terms of being an impact performer. And who knows, maybe extra responsibility brings the best out of him,” the official added. Hardik Pandya was a part of the four-match test series against England so that his bowling practice can be increased keeping in mind the England tour but it is learned that Hardik Pandya is unlikely to bowl more than an odd over or two in the T20I or ODI in the near future.
“Hardik, after his back surgery to cure stress fracture, is not the same bowler anymore. He was a fast-medium bowler before injury but to bowl at a brisk 135 kmph plus pace consistently, it could impact his back. So he is focussing more on his match finishing skills,” a person in the know of things said.
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