The three-match T20I series between Team India and New Zealand will be captained by all-arounder Hardik Pandya. Hardik will wear the captain’s hat once more after he did so earlier this year during the two-match T20I series against Ireland. The head coach for the New Zealand tour, VVS Laxman, praised Hardik on the eve of the first T20I, saying the other players look up to him and that he has a good cricketing brain. Just hours before the first T20I began, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri argued for Hardik as the captain by using the example of World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev.
“He has got that flamboyance and that exuberance. So that will reflect on the players in the team. I remember when Kapil Dev was captain,” Shastri told broadcasters. “When you have an impact player and when you have all-rounder, when you have a player who is on the thick of action right through those 20 overs, it makes a massive difference. It lifts the spirit of others; they want to emulate him. So, I’m really looking forward to the way Hardik leads,” he added.
For the three T20Is and three ODIs in the white-ball series against New Zealand, players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul have been rested. For the ODI and Test series against Bangladesh, which are scheduled to begin in December, all three of these players will be available.