Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan

SL vs IND, 2021: Captaincy race between Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya

Suryesh M

Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya seem to be the front-runners to lead Team India on their tour of Sri Lanka in July in the absence of the Test stars who will be in England at that time.

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A BCCI official confirmed that the opener and the all-rounder were the best options available among the available pool of players.

However, it is important to note that neither Dhawan nor Pandya have ever led the team at the highest level in any of the three formats.

"Shikhar has had two very good IPL including this curtailed one and being the senior-most among those who are available for selection, he is a very strong contender. Also, he has been a solid performer for India for the past eight years," a senior BCCI source privy to selection matters told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

The BCCI official also opined that handing over the additional responsibility to someone like Hardik Pandya could get the best out of him.

"Yes, Hardik Pandya hasn't been regularly bowling for MI or India in recent times. However, he (Hardik Pandya) is the man with X-factor and among options available. He is miles ahead of his peers in terms of being an impact performer. And who knows, maybe extra responsibility brings the best out of him," he added.

Shreyas Iyer would have been the automatic choice for captaincy if available: BCCI source

The BCCI official also gave an update on Shreyas Iyer and mentioned that it would take about four months for the cricketer to fully recover from his injury. This implies that the batsman will be out of action at least until mid-August.

"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," the official said.

The source added that Shreyas Iyer would have been the first choice to lead the team if available. He said:

"In case Shreyas was available, he would have been the automatic choice for captaincy."

Despite being included in the squad for the recent home series against England, Hardik Pandya has been ignored for the upcoming tour as he hasn't bowled much of late.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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