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Exclusive: Mohit Sharma backs Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill as future India captains

India medium-pacer Mohit Sharma endorses Hardik Pandya and Shubman Gill as future captains, praising their leadership qualities and ability to inspire teammates. Sharma highlights Pandya's resilience and Gill's optimistic approach, emphasizing their potential to lead India in T20Is and beyond.

Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya
W. Bhattacharyy

Last Updated: 2024-07-08

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

Mohit Sharma of Gujarat Titans bowls during the IPL Qualifier

India medium-pacer Sharma, who played two World Cups and 96 IPL matches, feels Pandya and Gill can bring the best out of players as he has played under both.

Hardik Pandya could be India’s T20I captain, again. After swimming through rough waters in the Indian Premier League with only four wins in 14 matches as Mumbai Indians skipper which raised doubts about his leadership skills, he reversed his fortunes with a stellar run in the T20 World Cup as Rohit Sharma’s deputy.

Hardik Pandya Poised for T20I Captaincy Return

Pandya was instrumental in India's second T20 World Cup triumph and an ICC title after 11 years. The Baroda boy finished with 11 wickets, including match-winning figures of 3/20 in the final against South Africa. He also contributed 144 runs with the bat at an average of 48 and a strike rate of 151. The performance took him to the No. 1 spot in the latest ICC rankings for all-rounders.

Now that Rohit has retired from T20Is, there are speculations about the new T20I captain.

India medium-pacer Mohit Sharma, who made his IPL comeback under Pandya's captaincy in Gujarat Titans in 2023, and played under Shubman Gill in this year's edition, feels both players stand a chance to be potential leaders for Team India.

Gill is leading the side in a five-match T20I tour of Zimbabwe starting July 6.

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Image Credits: Rediff

Mohit Sharma's Perspective on Leadership Qualities

"We know the calibre of Pandya as a player. Nobody can doubt his quality. I expected him to perform well in the World Cup, and I feel people who understand cricket must have prayed for that too," he told SportsBoom.com.

Sharma lauded Pandya for being mentally strong when being booed at the stadiums during the IPL. The fans were divided on the captaincy issue as he had replaced Rohit in MI.

"All those personal attacks on him during the IPL were manufactured through social media. He let his performance do the talking in the World Cup," said Mohit.

"There are a lot of positives about Shubman. He is dynamic, young, and has an optimistic approach. If things are not going right, he will always look to instil a positive instinct to create an impact and I like that about him."

Gill was a reserve player in the T20 World Cup. He led GT in the IPL after Pandya was traded to MI. The franchise finished eighth in the tournament with only five wins, but these are still early days for the all-format batter.

"Sometimes, the situation may not be in your favour during a game or a tournament. There is a chance that a good captain will come out of Shubman in the future. With time, you always learn from your mistakes and move upwards," said Sharma, who played in the T20 World Cup 2014 and the ODI World Cup 2015.

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He knows how to back the team in tough times.

Mohit Sharma

Comparative Strengths of Pandya and Gill

Sharma, who piked his career-best T20 bowling figures of 5/10 in GT colours against MI in IPL 2023, feels both Pandya and Gill are different as individuals but united for a common goal.

"Every human is different; our handwriting is different, and every person thinks differently. Their ideas to come out of difficult situations are also different. The bottom line should be similar.”

“Gill and Pandya have the same bottom line: to get the best out of a player and perform well for the team. They are on the same page," he reasoned.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who led India to a gold medal at the Asian Games 2023, is also a strong contender. The Maharashtra batter succeeded Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Chennai Super Kings captain.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has announced that a call on the next T20I captain will be taken by the selectors.

Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya is a cricket journalist based in India who takes a keen interest in stories that unfold on and off the field. His expertise lies in news writing, features and profiles, interviews, stats, and numbers-driven stories. He has also worked as a podcaster and talk show host on cricket-related shows on YouTube and Spotify.