The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is an opportunity to track down a “solid” future captain for the Indian cricket team, former national team manager Ravi Shastri said on Tuesday. From Rishabh Pant to Shreyas Iyer, the tournament ahead could mostly be about unearthing the next generation of leaders for the Indian team. However, he said India’s current captain, Rohit Sharma, is doing an “excellent” job, replacing Virat Kohli in all formats in recent months.
“Virat is no longer captain, but Rohit has also performed excellently, especially in white ball. India will see who will lead the team (in the future) – there is Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul.
“India will be looking for a solid captain for the future and here is the opportunity,” Shastri said during a press conference hosted by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of IPL 2022 on Tuesday.
“… That’s the beauty of the IPL, the last IPL we saw Venkatesh Iyer, nobody had heard of him and by the time it was over he was on the Indian team. So you expect the unexpected.”
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya is keeping his mouth shut on his return to bowling, but the whole country will be “watching very closely” his every move in the upcoming IPL, says Shastri.
Pandya, who will captain the Gujarat Titans team as the new franchise debuts in the Indian Premier League 2022.
Due to a low back injury, the Indian star all-rounder has yet to play a competitive game after last year’s ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.
“The whole province would keep a close eye on Hardik Pandya in the IPL, we all know what he is capable of,” Shastri said on Tuesday during a press conference hosted by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of IPL 2022.
Shastri and Suresh Raina will join Star Sports’ elite commentary panel for the lucrative competition.
“Like Hardik, there will be many other players knocking on the Indian team’s door.”
Shastri also said fast bowling could receive more attention than anything in the upcoming IPL, with the next T20 World Cup slated to be played on Australia’s hard and resilient fields.
“I think I can say they would be looking at the fast bowling division more than anything as they are going to Australia in four months after the IPL,” Shastri said.
Many youngsters have been given opportunities in the Indian team under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma and Shastri is waiting to see these players strengthen their cause with good performances in the IPL.
“I’d rather focus on players who just got the chance and how they’re doing in IPL… Now it’s going to be important to see how these players perform in the IPL and strengthen their positions.”
Shastri returns to the comment box after a seven-year absence. However, he will be part of the hindi commentary team, something he has not been associated with in the past.
This edition of the tournament will see 10 teams in action, with the addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants.
“The competition will be great this time around, with two new teams coming in. Now there are quite a few teams that will give you a really good run for your money. The mix was very good and it promises very strong competition,” said Shastri .
The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League kicks off on Saturday with a match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
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