Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has backed Hardik Pandya's stake for captaincy after World Cup 2023 if he wins the first ODI against Australia on March 17. With regular captain Rohit Sharma set to miss the first game of the three-match series at the Wankhede Stadium, Pandya has been named the stand-in skipper for the game.
"Rohit Sharma will be unavailable for the first ODI due to family commitments and Hardik Pandya will lead the side in the first ODI," BCCI tweeted.
The star all-rounder, who captained Gujarat Titans to win the title in their maiden appearance in the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League, is already the incumbent skipper in T20Is.
"I have been very impressed with his captaincy at the T20 level for the Gujarat Titans and for India when he is captaining the T20 side. I do believe that if he wins the first game in Mumbai, then you can almost stamp him as the India captain once the World Cup is over in 2023," Gavaskar told Star Sports.
Gavaskar said Pandya's presence in the middle order is important for the team.
"He can be an impact player as well as a game changer in the middle-order. Even for the Gujarat team, he was promoting himself up the order knowing that this is the time when the team needed some momentum and push, and he would do that," he said.
"So, someone who is prepared to take on responsibility, lead from the front, and who will not ask the players to do something that he wants to do himself, is highly crucial," he added.
Gavaskar also lavished praise on Pandya's captaincy style.
"What you see with Hardik Pandya as a captain is a sense of comfort with the rest of the team. Maybe, it's the way he handles the players, and puts his arm around the players. He just seems to give the players a sense of comfort," Gavaskar said.
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