Ashish Nehra opines on Hardik Pandya taking up captaincy for Gujarat Titans

Former Indian left-arm seamer and Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra felt that captaincy cannot be counted on prior experience and was optimistic about Hardik Pandya doing well as the leader. Pandya was drafted into the Gujarat Titans squad for INR 15 Crores ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction alongside Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill as the other draft picks. The franchise named Pandya as the captain ahead of the upcoming season and it will be interesting to see how he goes about his business.

Pandya has not played any international cricket after the T20 World Cup 2021 last year and has been working on his back issues which restricted him from bowling for a considerable time. However, he recently cleared the fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) with flying colours and is back to bowling well at good speeds. With a decent group of players in the squad, Pandya will have a big role to play with his extraordinary six-hitting skills.

There are two sides to a coin: Ashish Nehra

Nehra mentioned that Pandya has never captained in the past and noted the way Pandya has grown in leaps and bounds since making his IPL debut in 2016 for the Mumbai Indians. He reckoned that captaincy experience in the past definitely works, but added that every player will have to start leading a team somewhere or the other.

“Pandya too. He first played in the IPL in 2016, and now in 2022, he is the captain of a franchise and one of the bigger-name players in cricket. He has never led in the past. There are two sides to a coin. If you have an experienced captain, things work differently. But everyone has to start somewhere,” Ashish Nehra said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Nehra mentioned a few examples of big names like MS Dhoni who did not have much captaincy experience while taking up the role for India. He also talked about Gary Kirsten coming in as the head coach for India without much experience but managing to take India to a World Cup win in 2011. He added that he and Pandya will learn together during this year’s IPL stint.

“When Gary Kirsten took charge of the Indian team as head coach, it was not like he had been coaching prior to that for five years. Or when MS Dhoni took charge as Indian captain, it was not like he had been leading Jharkhand for a good four to six years. Hardik Pandya might not have captained previously, but both of us will learn from each other as we start spending more time together during the season. He is very excited and very positive. He is taking it as a very big responsibility,” he added.