Mumbai: Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar reckons Hardik Pandya can stake claim for leadership role in one-dayers too after the World Cup this year, provided his side emerges victorious against Australia in the first One-Day International (ODI) here on Friday.
With regular skipper Rohit Sharma set to miss the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium due to family commitments, Pandya has been named the stand-in captain for the contest.
The 29-year-old all-rounder, who captained Gujarat Titans to title win in their maiden appearance in the Indian Premier League 2022 season, is already the incumbent leader for India in the shortest format.
Gavaskar told Star Sports, "I have been very impressed with his captaincy at the T20 level for the Gujarat Titans and for India when he is captaining the T20 side. I do believe that if he wins the first game in Mumbai, then you can almost stamp him as the India captain once the World Cup is over in 2023."
Gavaskar said Pandya's presence in the middle order is essential for India.
"He can be an impact player as well as a game changer in the middle order. Even for the Gujarat team, he was promoting himself up the order knowing that this is the time when the team needed some momentum and push, and he would do that," Gavaskar said.
"So, someone who is prepared to take on responsibility, lead from the front, and who will not ask the players to do something that he wants to do himself, is highly crucial," he said.
Gavaskar added that Pandya's captaincy style also makes him a favourite among the players.
"What you see with Hardik Pandya as a captain is a sense of comfort with the rest of the team. Maybe, it's the way he handles the players, puts his arm around the players He just seems to give the players a sense of comfort.
"That's so important... to give a player a sense of comfort so that he can go and play his natural game. I think he encourages them, which is a wonderful sign."