After a muted showing at last year’s T20 World Cup, Hardik made a comeback and led the Gujarat Titans to a memorable title triumph in a dream maiden IPL season, forcing modest cakes on those who didn’t give the rookies a chance before the tournament meal.
“Yes, definitely. Not just my assessment, but everyone’s assessment (Hardik’s reputation as a leader has gone up). It was an aspect of his game that nobody had too much information about,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
“If you have leadership qualities, that automatically opens the door for national level honours, to be able to captain India national team in the near future.
“So that’s exciting, there are 3-4 other names in the ring. I’m not saying he’s next in line. But it’s fantastic for the selection committee to have this option,” he added.
In a weak final, Hardik played with both bat and ball (3/17 and 30-ball 34) to lead GT to a seven-wicket win over former champions Rajasthan Royals.
Overall, he finished the campaign in IPL 15 with 487 runs and eight wickets.
“We all knew what he could do with the bat and the ball, but before the season started there was just a bit of concern about whether he could bowl his full four-over quota. He did that, he showed that, the all-rounder -Aspect is done and everyone is happy.
“The way he led the team, the way he brought them together, the way he brought them together means he has leadership qualities,” he added.
A winner of four IPL titles with Mumbai Indians, this was Hardik’s first trophy as captain.
Hardik has also made an India comeback at his IPL show this season and will feature in the upcoming T20I five-game home series against South Africa under skipper KL Rahul.
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