Yesterday the news flashed that Hardik Pandya, fondly referred to as Sir Don Pandya (SDP), is likely to be appointed as the captain of Ahmedabad/Amdavad franchise. Ever since Amdavad was announced as one of the two new franchises, I was hoping that Hardik Pandya would be its captain. One of the key reasons for me was that I observed leadership potential in him when on the cricket field. A few examples include:
- Friendly nature: Whether with Team India or Mumbai Indians, I have observed Hardik to be extremely friendly with his team mates, forging strong relationships with almost everyone.
- Communications: An extension of his friendly nature, he is someone who can be seen communicating positively. On many occasions, you would find Hardik running up to the bowlers to provide inputs or to the captain to share his ideas on possibly field settings.
- Confidence and Positivity: He is a rare uncalculating cricketer who keeps cricket simple. If a ball is to be hit, he backs himself to hit it. At every point, he is seeking to win the game. No complexities.
- Encourages teammates: After he was declared Man of the Series of the T20 bilaterals in Australia, he offered to give the award to the newcomer Natarajan. In fact, Hardik hit 2 90s in the ODI series as well, scoring at an average of over 100 (much above other Indian batsmen).
- Puts team first over personal stats: Can we imagine Hardik Pandya taking 10 singles to reach a 100? Can we imagine Hardik Pandya running out a batsman who is on 80+ in a final versus Pakistan (Hardik was the batsman runout on 80 odd in the 2017 CT final)? It is not surprising that any team that Hardik Pandya plays for, he receives good support from everyone around.
Apart from the above, my key interest is to see if Hardik Pandya can develop as a rare great Indian captain. I have observed various Indian captains since late 80s and apart from maybe Ganguly, who was passionate and visionary, and MS Dhoni, who was charming and street smart, not many will lead my AT LOI 11s. As a kid, I observed Kapil Dev's mechanical captaincy where you could predict his every move. While Kapil may have been a great motivator, you saw Imran Khan maybe open the batting with a Javed Miandad or send a Wasim Akram up the order, and so on.
The next question for me is that can Hardik Pandya combine the passion and vision of Ganguly, and the charm and street smartness of MSD? Only time will answer the question. However, if the answer is affirmative, Hardik Pandya may get the opportunity to be India's next captain in about 24 or so months as he would have virtually no major competition as a) Pant is observed to make tactical blunders, b) KL Rahul is seen as a nervous and stats focused customer, c) Shreyas Iyer was known to be remote controlled by Ponting, and so on. The appointment of Hardik Pandya as captain of Amdavad IPL Team can have major positive implications for Indian cricket if Hardik Pandya is able to develop and showcase his leadership skills.
Talking about the Amdavad IPL team, what should it be called? Below are a few suggestions in alphabetical order:
- Bulls: Fits in with the Gujarat's bullish panache in the stock market. The acronym would be AB.
- Lions: Connects well with the region as Gujrat has Lions in Gir. The acronym would be AL.
- Titans: A cool name especially considering that its home venue is also the biggest cricket stadium in the world. The acronym would be AT.
- Wolves: Would point towards fighting and team spirit qualities as displayed by a wolf pack. The acronym would be AW.
Wishing all the best to Amdavad IPL team!