India vs South Africa: Hardik's leadership in IPL impressive, says Rahul Dravid
- Hardik Pandya led Gujarat to the IPL title in their maiden season
- He earned MoM for his all-round show in the final
- Gujarat defeated Rajasthan by 7 wickets to win IPL 2022
India head coach Rahul Dravid has heaped praise on Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper Hardik Pandya's captaincy, saying there is no need to be a designated leader to be a part of Team India's leadership group.
Speaking ahead of India's first T20I against South Africa, Dravid on Tuesday also confirmed that the players, who were part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 final on May 29, were given an extra day's rest.
"I just met Hardik a couple of hours ago. For the guys who played the final, we gave them an extra day off. But I think his leadership was very impressive right through the IPL. He performed very well. In this sense, you don't have to be designated as a leader to be part of any leadership group. It's not only about Hardik being designated in a position. At this point in time, it's really about its good from our perspective that he has started bowling again.
"We know what that does for us, and what his bowling can add to our depth. It's about ensuring that we can get the best out of him as a cricketer, in terms of bowling, batting, and fielding, and in terms of what happens ahead, it depends on many factors. The selectors will take that decision, in terms of what happens in the future," said Dravid in the pre-match conference on Tuesday.
Newcomers Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik, defeated Rajasthan Royals to claim the IPL 2022 title. The all-rounder bagged the Player of the Match in the grand finale, especially for his contribution with the ball. Hardik picked up three wickets for just 17 runs in his quota of four overs. During Gujarat's chase of 131, Hardik scored a 30-ball 34.
Dravid also acknowledged the fact that other Indian captains did well too in the IPL, such as KL Rahul (Lucknow), Shreyas Iyer (Kolkata), and Sanju Samson (Rajasthan).
"It is great we have got a lot of Indian captains doing well in the IPL. Hardik was one of them, Rahul did very well for LSG, and Sanju captained RR. Shreyas did it at KKR as well. It helps people grow and develop as players. It really helps you grow as a person also, having to make decisions. It is great from our perspective to see that," added Dravid in the same conference that took place in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the BCCI selectors have also picked up Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik after their impressive performances in the IPL 2022.
Would love to see Umran Malik turn into good red-ball bowler, says Rahul Dravid
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer Umran consistently amazed all with his pace that was never seen before in Indian cricket. While that sure has caught Dravid's eye, the head coach expects the Jammu and Kashmir fast bowler to turn into a fine red-ball bowler as well.
"It is exciting. He certainly bowled quick and with pace. Another thing that has been interesting for me watching the IPL from the outside is the number of Indian bowlers bowling fast. And obviously, being the coach of all three formats of the game, I would love to see that translated into the longer formats of the game. But it is brilliant in terms of watching Umran in the nets, you can see that he has got that pace.
"Obviously, he is learning. He is a young boy and he is getting better, and improving. The more he is able to play, the better he is going to get. From our, perspective, very happy to have someone like him in the mix. We have to see how much playing time we can give him, we need to be realistic, we have a large squad, and it is not possible to give everyone playing XI time," Dravid explained further.
India and South Africa are set to lock horns in a five-match T20I series, starting Thursday (June 9) in Delhi.