All-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead the Indian cricket team during its two-match T20I series against Ireland beginning June 26. The BCCI on Wednesday also named pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the vice captain.
The Baroda-born Hardik was recently named as the deputy to Rishabh Pant after both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul didn’t take part in the five-match T20I series against South Africa.
Right-handed batter Rahul Tripathi, has also earned his maiden India call-up following his decent performances
for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.
The BCCI has chosen Pandya as the skipper as batter KL Rahul is not fit and wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant will not be available for the tour. Other key players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will be joining the side only in the England tour, beginning July 1.
“Hardik Pandya will lead the team as KL Rahul is not fit yet and Pant will also join the team in UK for the final Test match against England. We have one name in the team, that is Hardik Pandya as he led Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in their debut season and he is also the vice captain during the ongoing T20I series against South Africa,” sources said.
In 15 IPL games this season, Pandya scored 487 runs at an average of 44.27 and four half-centuries. He also took eight wickets for his side, including a match-winning 3/17 in the finals against Rajasthan Royals.
Pandya has made a comeback to the national team and was appointed as Rishabh Pant’s deputy for the ongoing T20I series against South Africa in which he has done well with the bat.
INDIA SQUAD FOR IRELAND T20IS
Hardik Pandya (C), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vc), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, R Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik