Since the beginning of 2022, Hardik Pandya’s reputation as an all-round player and captain has steadily and quite startlingly increased. He began by guiding the Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League (IPL) championship in their first campaign in the league. Since then, Pandya has led India in T20 Internationals eight times, winning six of those contests.

Pandya has so far managed to win every series he has led India in, with their most recent victory coming on Saturday when they defeated Sri Lanka 2-1. He admitted after the game that he had only ever led a team once, at the under-16 level, and never again. In junior cricket, I’ve never had a lead position. After then, everyone urged me to focus on my own game, so ever since then, I haven’t led a team,” Pandya remarked to the media after the game. “When I was a U16, I had led for Baroda.

Pandya credited former fast bowler and current Gujarat Titans head coach Asish Nehra for helping him establish himself as a trustworthy leader. “The kind of coach I worked with at Gujarat Titans was significant. Ashish Nehra, whose ideas on cricket are extremely similar to mine, had a significant impact on my life. Despite having extremely diverse personalities, we are pretty similar when it comes to cricket. My captaincy gained more importance since I was alongside him. It helped me understand all I know. It was simply about obtaining reassurance since I’ve always known that I understand the game to some extent. It was simply a matter of kind of supporting what I already know,” he remarked.

The 29-year-old has virtually always been the captain of Indian teams with young, inexperienced players. “Managing a young team is not challenging. But at the same time, the group is young. They’ll make errors and grow from them. We stress the importance of learning from mistakes. In this sport, acceptance is essential. Things progress quickly if you refuse to accept it, he warned.