Mumbai: Gujarat Titans' triumph in their debut season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has catapulted their skipper and Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya into the top echelons of Indian cricket with many predicting him as a future captain of the national team.
Taking into account the way Pandya led Gujarat Titans throughout IPL 2022, former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar sees shades of ex-Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his leadership.
In the final, Pandya claimed the best figures of his IPL career so far, taking 3/17 in four overs to help restrict Rajasthan Royals to 130/9 in 20 overs. He did well with the bat too, scoring 34 off 30 balls as Titans successfully chased down the target.
"Hardik Pandya bowled well. In batting too, he batted in all gears while playing at the crucial No. 4 spot. He captained the team like M S Dhoni. (Spinner) R Sai Kishore bowled the 16th and 18th overs in the final," Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.
"His captaincy was similar to M S Dhoni's, as he made the decisions according to match situations. He seems to be enjoying the captaincy and looks very relaxed," he further added.
Manjrekar and many others noticed the similarities with Dhoni in field placings and bowling changes made by Pandya. While Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to four titles, Pandya was part of the Mumbai Indians' team that won the titles in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020 under Rohit Sharma. Gujarat Titans' triumph in 2022 takes his IPL titles count to five.
Rohit Sharma leads the list of players with the most IPL titles with six. Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu too have five titles like Pandya. Pollard won all his titles with Mumbai Indians while Rayudu won three with Mumbai and two with Chennai.