Hardik's major ODI WC role in jeopardy after Windies humiliation as BCCI's Bumrah stance for Ireland T20Is disclosed
Hardik Pandya's leadership abilities have been a surprise revelation in his white-ball career.
Since impressing analysts and then India selectors by leading Gujarat Titans to an IPL trophy haul in their maiden season in 2022, Hardik has been tipped to succeed Rohit Sharma after the ODI World Cup.
He was then elevated to the role of T20I skipper in matches where Rohit was rested before returning to the ODI set-up, where he was named vice-captain.
However, following a humiliating T20I series loss in the West Indies under his command earlier this month, in which he was chastised for poor on-field decisions, Hardik's significant role for the ODI World Cup is in peril, with the BCCI disclosing his genuine opponent for the job.
Hardik was appointed as Rohit's ODI deputy in January of this year. He held the position throughout series against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia, and then the West Indies trip, when he even led the side in the last match after the normal skipper had benched himself with India in experimental mode for the World Cup.
While India recovered from a scare in the One-Day Internationals against the West Indies to win 2-1 earlier this month, the Men in Blue suffered their first bilateral series loss against the Caribbean side in 17 years, falling 2-3 in a five-match series.
Cricket experts later chastised Hardik for some of the unusual on-field calls and post-match remarks he made throughout the match.
While many backed Hardik to recover from his slump with the Asia Cup and ODI World Cup around the corner, where he will play an important role as Rohit's vice-captain, a PTI report revealed that the all-rounder may not be guaranteed for his leadership role in the 50-over tournament.
On the condition of anonymity, a BCCI source revealed to PTI the true reason for Jasprit Bumrah being awarded the captaincy post in the Ireland T20I series, saying that the ace fast bowler is set to be Rohit's deputy in both the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
"In terms of ODI vice-captaincy, Bumrah could give Hardik a run for his money." Let us not forget that in terms of leadership seniority, Bumrah became India captain before Hardik (in a Test match at the Oval against England).
He was also the vice-captain of the ODI side during their tour of South Africa in early 2022. So he's also in queue," he explained.
Both Bumrah and Hardik will find out their destiny on Monday morning, when the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee announces India's Asia Cup team, which will also contain a tentative World Cup squad.