Hardik Pandya has role to play in honoring Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's legacy: Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar suggests that if a change in leadership occurs, it falls upon Hardik Pandya to handle it with grace and give due respect to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Sarah Andrew
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Shoaib Akhtar, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (Source: Twitter)

As Team India braces for a leadership transition, Head Coach Rahul Dravid has reportedly opted not to continue, setting the stage for significant changes in the team dynamics. With the T20 World Cup looming next year and the next ODI World Cup scheduled for 2027, key players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are nearing the twilight of their international careers.

In the absence of Hardik Pandya, who led India in T20Is for the past year, Suryakumar Yadav, designated vice-captain, has taken the reins in the ongoing T20I series against Australia. Unfortunately, Pandya's persistent injury concerns have kept him sidelined, making Yadav the likely captain for the upcoming South Africa T20Is starting on December 10.

The all-rounder, Pandya's injury-prone nature came to the forefront during the ODI World Cup, where an ankle injury forced him out of action. Although slated to return in the IPL, the all-rounder's surprising reunion with his former team, the Mumbai Indians, adds an interesting layer to his comeback.

The Akhtar perspective: Hardik Pandya's role in India's cricketing shift!

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes that both Sharma and Kohli have plenty of cricket left in them, asserting that Rohit stands as the world's premier opener. Akhtar emphasizes the imminent transition phase and suggests that if a change in leadership occurs, it falls upon Hardik Pandya to handle it with grace and respect.

Drawing parallels with how cricketing legends managed transitions, Akhtar underscores the importance of bidding farewell respectfully. He points to Dhoni's handling of Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli's approach when taking over from Dhoni. The former Pakistan pacer asserts that it is now Hardik Pandya's responsibility to ensure a smooth phase-out for Sharma and Kohli, acknowledging the substantial contributions they've made to Indian cricket.

As Team India faces a transformative period, the onus is on Hardik Pandya to steer the team through a respectful transition. The looming departure of stalwarts like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli marks the end of an era, and how Pandya navigates this change will be crucial for the team's future success.

Virat Kohli Rohit Sharma Suryakumar Yadav Shoaib Akhtar Hardik Pandya