Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya (Credits: Twitter)

Virender Sehwag, the former Indian batter praised Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya for his efforts as a leader and player during IPL 2022. The former India captain believes that factors off the field should not be considered while assessing him or any player.

Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya silenced several critics by leading the franchise to the title in their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 campaign. Gujarat Titans became the 7th team in the history of the tournament to win the cash-rich league. He is just the 2nd captain in IPL’s history to win the player of the match award in the Final.

Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya - Twitter
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya – Twitter

Virender Sehwag Praises Hardik Pandya For Standing Apart Across All 3 Departments And Gujarat Titans’ Coaching Stuff For Supporting Players Well

Several doubts were raised when the new franchise appointed the all-rounder as their skipper. However, Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion across all fronts by guiding GT to a top spot in the league stage. Moreover, he never let the burden of captaincy affect his performance as he ended with 487 runs and eight wickets in the tournament.

Claiming that only events on the field should be used while assessing a player, Virender Sehwag said: “The personality off the field does not matter, it is absolutely irrelevant. Because it makes no impact on the field. Hardik Pandya has stood apart across all three departments this season. People love Pandya because of the things he does on the field, not off the field.”

Hardik Pandya grabbed 3-17 with impeccable medium-fast bowling to restrict Rajasthan Royals to 130-9 after Sanju Samson won the toss and chose to bat. The GT skipper then made a crucial 34 off 30 balls as Gujarat scored 133-3 in 18.1 overs. He got three important wickets in the big final. He got the wickets of Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, and Shimron Hetmyer. With the bat too, Hardik Pandya arrested a collapse chasing a low total.

Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya
Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya (Credits: Twitter)

Apart from Hardik Pandya’s captaincy credentials, doubts were raised about GT’s squad as well as their coaching staff led by Ashish Nehra as head coach. Much like the captain, Ashish Nehra has been credited for maintaining a positive team atmosphere and was rewarded with the title in his very first assignment as a head coach.

Praising the work done by the GT support staff over the course of the tournament, Virender Sehwag said: “It is not like GT had a star-studded coaching staff. Apart from Gary Kirsten, they were relatively inexperienced. But, they played their role really well. They have supported the players really well and given them what they want.”

Gary Kirsten, who reprised the role of team mentor, and Ashish Nehra had previously worked as part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) support staff a few years ago. New faces in the GT coaching unit included Vikram Solanki, Aashish Kapoor, Narendra Nagi, and Mithun Manhas.

Virender Sehwag: Gujarat Titans Will Play Next Season IPL 2023 With The Pressure Of Being Champions

Having won the title in their maiden season, GT will go into the next season as the defending champions. The new franchise only became the second team after the Rajasthan Royals (RR) to win the IPL at the first attempt.

Opining that the real test for GT will come in the form of next season, Virender Sehwag stated: “In the next tournament, GT will come with the pressure of being champions. That’s because everyone will hold expectations from them now. Now we will see how they perform under pressure.”

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

GT’s philosophy of playing without fear came on the back of minimal pressure in their debut campaign. Factors such as playing at home and the gained reputation will come as a real test for the Hardik Pandya-led side in their pursuit of retaining the title next year.