With Hardik Pandya impressing as India selectors after his captaincy stint in IPL 2022 and then in the Ireland and New Zealand T20I series, there has been growing discussion among veteran cricketers and experts that the all-rounder is the apt fit to replace Rohit Sharma as the next captain of the Indian team. Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir does back the notion of Hardik taking over the reigns, but adds another name to the list of possible future captains by picking a rather unusual choice.

Hardik was never in fray to become the next India skipper. When Rohit was named the captain earlier this year, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah were the names considered to replace Rohit in the future. But Hardik’s name suddenly emerged at the top of the list after he led Gujarat Titans to an impressive IPL title win in his first ever stint as a captain in any tournament. He then led India to a 2-0 whitewash in the tour of Ireland before maintaining his winning run in the New Zealand series earlier this month.

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“Hardik Pandya obviously is in line,” Gambhir said at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi on Sunday. “But that’s going to be unfortunate for Rohit because I think judging his captaincy in only one ICC event is not the right way to probably judge him.”

Gambhir however feels that young Prithvi Shaw is also among the possible options to lead the Indian side. However, the batter has failed be consistently part of the Indian squad while also being suspended in 2019 for doping violation and struggling with fitness issues. In fact, he last played for India in July 2021, for a second-string Indian side in the Sri Lanka tour.

“The reason I’ve picked Prithvi Shaw, I know a lot of people talk about his off-field activities, but that is what the job of the coach and the selectors are,” Gambhir said. “The selectors’ job isn’t just to pick the 15, but also to get people walk the right path.

“Prithvi Shaw is one I feel can be a very aggressive captain, a very successful captain because you see that aggression in the way a person plays the sport.”

Shaw does have captaincy experience the most notable being leading the U-19 Indian side to World Cup win in 2018.

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