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Srikkanth wants Hardik to be made T20I skipper till 2024 T20WC; rebuild side from NZ series

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the former India cricketer and ex-chairman of the senior men’s selection committee, said if he was the current chief selector, he would appoint Hardik Pandya as the captain of the side till the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup and would get down to rebuilding the side from the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand.

In the recently-concluded T20 World Cup in Australia, India entered the semifinals of the tournament by becoming table-toppers from Group 2, winning four out of their five matches.

But their quest of ending a nine-year wait for a World Cup trophy came to an abrupt halt with a crushing 10-wicket loss to eventual champions England in the semifinal at the Adelaide Oval, which led to India being criticised heavily for playing an outdated version of T20 cricket.

Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to winning IPL 2022, will be filling in as captain for Rohit Sharma in the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand starting from Friday in Wellington. The series will also mark the start of India’s road to the next edition of T20 World Cup in 2024, which will be jointly hosted by West Indies and USA.

“See if I was the Chairman of the selection committee, I would say that Hardik Pandya should be the captain of the 2024 World Cup, straight away, I’d put it that way – number one. And start rebuilding a side right from today, that is from the New Zealand series which is going to happen in a week’s time.”

“You start from today, the preparation for the World cup, you need to understand, starts 2 years in advance. So, you do whatever you want to do, the trial and error policy, do whatever you want, try it for one year, then you form a team and by 2023 make sure this is going to be at the level that is going to play the World Cup,” said Srikkanth on ‘Match Point’ show on Star Sports.

Srikkanth also called for India to identify all-rounders like Deepak Hooda who could play varied roles in the T20 World Cup. “You need more fast-ball all-rounders. Let’s see, 1983 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup, why did we win? We had many fast-ball all-rounders and semi all-rounders. So, to identify these guys — guys like Hooda, like Hooda, there are going to be so many more Hoodas.”

Former India left-arm pacer and 2007 T20 World Cup winner Irfan Pathan feels that the side needs to create a couple of leaders in case Pandya gets injured and may not captain the T20 team. In the T20Is against New Zealand, Rishabh Pant will be serving as Pandya’s deputy.

“So, I’m not saying that if you change the captain you change the result, if you go like that you’re not going to change the result. And with Hardik Pandya, you need to understand, we all need to understand, that he’s a fast bowling all-rounder. He has injury issues as well.”

“What if he is your captain who is getting injured right before the World cup? And if you don’t have any other leader ready, you’ll be in a mess. So, what I personally think is that Hardik Pandya is a leader, who has done very well in the Gujarat Titians, won IPL, won the championship trophy.

“You need to find not one, but two leaders going forward to build their mark. You know just like we talk about openers – we need to have a group of openers, we also need to have a group of leaders.”

Former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop highlighted that with the amount of talent available in India, selectors need to be making the right choices while selecting the right players in Indian T20I team in future. “That has always been what selection has always been about, if it was that simple of choosing the guys who are on top of the statistics, you wouldn’t need a selector.

“Anyone can go and make a base and make a team, but you have to see beyond the numbers, who is playing what bowling well in what conditions, who is playing the hard games. So, that’s where the real selector earns his money.”

“Look, I still think that there’s a kid called Mohsin Khan who plays in the IPL. And that’s another one that I can recall as well, there are several highly talented players who are still in the nation. I think the talent is there to win the World Cup, it’s just a matter of picking the right people at the right time, there’s just too much talent available.”

–IANS

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