India head coach Rahul Dravid has heaped praise on Hardik Pandya, saying his captaincy at Gujarat Titans was ‘impressive’ throughout the tournament which led them to win the title in their debut season. Hardik had never been captaining any side in the national or domestic circuit ahead of IPL 2022.
Hardik Pandya made a dream comeback in IPL 2022, helping Gujarat Titans win the Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season this year. The star all-rounder contributed with both bat and ball throughout the season, and stepped up in the final as well, against Rajasthan Royals at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. He was fittingly given the Player of the Match in the summit clash.
Following his decent outing in IPL 2022, India's current head coach Rahul Dravid lauded Hardik for playing a significant role for his franchise. Dravid particularly credited Hardik's leadership quality, and termed it 'impressive'.
"I just met Hardik a couple of hours ago. For the guys who played the final, we gave them an extra day off. But I think his leadership was very impressive right through the IPL. He performed very well," Dravid said at the pre-match press conference ahead of India's five-match T20I series against South Africa.
"In the sense, you don't have to be designated as a leader to be part of any leadership group. It's not only about Hardik being designated in a position. At this point in time, it's really about it's good from our perspective that he has started bowling again. We know what that does for us, and what his bowling can add to our depth."
Further, speaking about Hardik's role at Team India from now on, Dravid commented, "It's about ensuring that we can get the best out of him as a cricketer, in terms of bowling, batting, and fielding, and in terms of what happens ahead, it depends on many factors. The selectors will take that decision, in terms of what happens in the future."
India's upcoming five-match series against South Africa will get underway on June 9 in Delhi.