Euro 2020 Special

Should Hardik Pandya Be Named Rohit Sharma’s Permanent Deputy?

Former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer has mentioned that Hardik Pandya should be named as India’s permanent number two, meaning he should be appointed as the vice-captain of the white-ball team over KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, it should be Pandya leading the national team in limited overs cricket according to Jaffer.

That made us dig some numbers to support this theory. Pandya’s experience with captaincy is limited but has been mighty successful whenever he has got the added responsibility.



Hardik Pandya in his very first attempt went on to win the Indian T20 League with Team Gujarat recently. He finished the season with an impressive win percentage of 75%, making him the most successful captain of the 2022 season.

Rishabh Pant has been the captain of Team Delhi for two seasons now. He led them to the playoffs in the first one in the UAE and narrowly missed on the playoffs spot in the following season. In both campaigns, he made some crucial errors in crunch situations that can be looked at critically by the management. His win percentage in the Indian T20 League is 54.8% and internationally he has managed to win two out of five games with one washed-out match.

KL Rahul is by far the most experienced captain of this lot. He has led in the Indian T20 League for three consecutive seasons now with a win percentage of 50%. A thing to remember is that he was with a struggling team in Punjab for the first two seasons but the moment he switched allegiances to the new franchise, Team Lucknow, his win percentage went up.

Rahul’s captaincy also has plenty of chinks in its armoury and many consider him a work-in-progress captain. He has also captained at the international level but those matches were forgetful for the team as they lost on all four occasions; one Test and three ODIs, all in South Africa.



The biggest concern for the fans is whether the captaincy will bring the best out of a player or that added responsibility will prove to be a burden. It is safe to say that in the case of Hardik Pandya, not only has captaincy brought the best out of him, but he has matured on the field and is trying to emulate all the right qualities of his role model MS Dhoni.

Rishabh Pant is a young captain and the added responsibility was always going to be a challenge for the wicketkeeper-batter. Pant seems like a free-spirited character who you’d love to have in your team but captaincy seems to have limited his free-spirited nature. He has turned into a more circumspect player with the bat and it is hindering his progress.

KL Rahul is a far more mature captain than Pant but sometimes even he seems overwhelmed by taking the captain’s armband. He is capable of being India’s most destructive opener in T20 cricket but we’ve seen Rahul trying to bat within himself as a captain and his recent low strike rates are reflective of that change.



After undergoing a serious back surgery, all eyes were on Hardik Pandya in the 2022 season to see whether we will see the best of the all-rounder. Credit needs to be given to Pandya, as he worked extremely hard on his fitness and it showed in his performances in the season. He had a personal best season with the bat and went on to win the coveted trophy for his franchise.

Pant is in a difficult phase in his career. There seems to be a theory floating around about bowling him far outside off-stump and Pant will play a rash shot and give his wicket away. He struggled in the 2022 season and his bad form continued in the series against South Africa as well. There are now talks regarding his position in the World Cup squad, however, coach Rahul Dravid has backed his man to come good later in the year.

KL Rahul had another 600-plus season in the Indian T20 League; the third consecutive season where he has achieved that feat. He is still India’s best T20 batter and if given the chance to dominate from the first ball, Rahul has the game to be the world’s best. His injury record is a bit of concern for the management as he is currently going for a thigh surgery.



Overall, Jaffer wasn’t way off when he mentioned that Pandya should be India’s number two in white-ball cricket. Clearly, captaincy brings the best out of him and the other two are better suited as pure batters in the team.

Read: Get to Know the Indian Coaching Staff for the Tour Of Ireland




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