“Prithvi Shaw most likely can…”: After the New Zealand series, Mohammad Kaif gives his verdict on Hardik Pandya’s captaincy

On Wednesday, Mohammad Kaif detailed the captaincy role that Hardik Pandya played in India’s series victory over New Zealand.

In the third and final T20I at Ahmedabad on Wednesday, India’s stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya led the Men in Blue to another series victory, as the Shubman Gill-led team defeated New Zealand.

At Narendra Modi Stadium, Team India, led by Pandya, defeated Mitchell Santner’s New Zealand by 168 runs in the series finale.

Mohammad Kaif, a former Indian cricketer, praised Pandya’s leadership after India won the T20I series and praised the star all-rounder for supporting opener Gill in the recent match in Ahmedabad.

Opener Gill had battled for structure in the initial two rounds of the three-match series between India and New Zealand.

Before scoring in the third Twenty20 International against New Zealand, the Indian opener had posted mediocre scores of 7 (6) and 11 (8).

India managed to post a match-winning total in the series decider at Ahmedabad, where Gill scored his first century.

Ex-cricketer Kaif praised the Indian skipper, noting that Pandya gave Gill a longer rope. While Prithvi Shaw was waiting in the wings.

“The captain plays a significant role in selecting your starting XI. When players are sitting in the squad, they sometimes get greedy. If your openers aren’t firing, it can be a big decider. (Prithvi) Shaw can probably do that job.

He made the right decision a lot of the time. He also played today against the same team. The fact that Ishan Kishan left was a different matter, but the decision was right.

“He said he would bat at the toss and backed (Shubman) Gill,” Kaif told Star Sports. India posted 234-4 in 20 overs thanks to Gill’s sensational 126 off 63 balls.

The star opener became the youngest Indian batsman to score a century in a T20I at the age of 23 and 146 days.

In addition, Gill holds the record for the highest score by an Indian in the game’s shortest format. In 2023, opener Gill played his first T20I match against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium. The 23-year-old has scored 202 runs for Team India in six T20I matches.

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