Even though Indian captain Rohit Sharma has no intention of retiring from the T20I format, all-rounder Hardik Pandya has emerged as a front-runner to succeed him after the ICC World Cup in 2022. The white-ball maverick will once more take over the T20I captaincy as India prepares to play New Zealand for a three-match series in Rohit’s absence.
In the first game of the series, the Pandya-led Team India will take on the Black Caps in Ranchi on Friday. Before the first episode of the season, Pandya and Ranchi’s own MS Dhoni collaborated on an internet-shattering social media message. The replacement captain was a huge success as Thala Dhoni’s latest post by Pandya became an instant hit.
On the eve of the first Twenty20 International in Ranchi, Pandya’s Team India met with Dhoni in a unique setting. So what topics do Pandya and Dhoni talk about? The Team India T20I captain claims that during his playing days with the former Indian cricketer, he already learned all of the tricks from the Ranchi stalwart.
“Mahi bhai is here which is good as we get to meet him. We can get out of the hotel also (to meet him). Otherwise, the way we have played in the last month, it has just been hotel to hotel. And when we meet we try to talk about life rather than the game. When we played together I learned a lot from him. I have squeezed a lot out of him (knowledge), there is not much left,” Pandya told reporters during the traditional pre-match press conference in Ranchi.
Pandya served as vice-captain of the Indian team that recently destroyed New Zealand 3-0 in an ODI series. In the upcoming T20I series, the recently elevated vice-captain is expected to achieve a similar outcome. Pandya will be tasked with leading the Men in Blue for the third consecutive T20I series. In the opening Twenty20 encounter of the three-match series, Pandya’s young Indian team will take on New Zealand at the JSCA International Stadium Complex on Friday.