If Shreyas Iyer does not recover in time for India’s white-ball tour of Sri Lanka in July, veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan and flamboyant allrounder-turned specialist batsman Hardik Pandya will face off for the captaincy. During the second half of July, when the big guns are in town, India’s limited-overs specialists will play three T20 Internationals and as many ODIs in the island country.
A senior BCCI coach, prior to selection, said, “It is still not clear if Shreyas will recover fully and will be match-fit in time for the tour of Sri Lanka. Normally, a surgery of this scale along with rest, extensive rehab and training to get back in shape takes around four months. In case Shreyas was available, he would have been the automatic choice for captaincy,”.
It’s only natural that the 35-year-old Dhawan, who has had a successful “one and a half IPLs” in the last two seasons, and Pandya junior, who is one of the most experienced match-winners, are the two captaincy contenders. Shikhar has had two excellent IPL seasons, including this one, and as the senior-most player eligible for selection, he is a clear contender. He’s also been a consistent performer.
Hardik’s popularity as a white-ball match-winner is also not to be overlooked. Pandya was selected for the four-Test series against England at home in order to increase his bowling workload ahead of the England tour, but it is understood that the Baroda man will not bowl more than an odd over or two in the shortest format or ODI in the near future.