Shubman Gill BCCI's favourite to lead India after Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya decline tour of Zimbabwe: Report | Crickit
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Shubman Gill BCCI's favourite to lead India after Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya decline tour of Zimbabwe: Report

Jun 24, 2024 02:37 PM IST

Shubman Gill has emerged as the frontrunner to captain India during their five-match T20I series in Zimbabwe.

Shubman Gill is set for redemption as the India batter has emerged frontrunner to captain the team on its tour of Zimbabwe next month. Gill, who travelled to the USA as a reserve player in India's T20 World Cup squad before getting released, is set for his maiden captaincy stint with the national team and will lead a bunch of youngsters for the five T20Is to be played in Harare starting July 6.

Shubman Gill is set for a new role with Team India(Getty)
Shubman Gill is set for a new role with Team India(Getty)

According to a report in The Indian Express, the decision to thrust Gill into a leadership position was taken after Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav declined to be part of the Zimbabwe tour. Both players, along with seniors Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah, will take a break following India's T20 World Cup campaign. The report also claims the BCCI selection panel has already shortlisted the squad that will be picked for the tour of Zimbabwe and finalised the skipper after receiving confirmation of unavailability from SKY and Hardik.

Gill's promotion could set the blueprint to decide the next India captain – especially since Rohit is believed to deprioritise playing the format after the T20 World Cup. Over the last year or so, in Rohit's absence, Hardik has taken over command of India's T20I team; even Suryakumar led India in the five-match T20I series against Australia right after the 2023 World Cup. Hence, even though SKY and Hardik might be higher in the pecking order as India's full-time captaincy candidates going forward, Gill's experience promises to sharpen his leadership skills, that's already on display during this year's IPL.

Before IPL 2024, Gill had never led a professional team full-time. He had captained Punjab twice at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, winning one and losing one. Appointed captain of the Gujarat Titans after Hardik returned to Mumbai Indians, but endured a forgettable campaign. GT, winners in 2022 and runners-up last year, not only failed to qualify for the Playoffs but finished 8th on the points table. Tasked with a young squad full of promising talent, Gill would be hoping to right the wrongs and return home with a positive result.

How Shubman Gill's team could look like

Gill's team is expected to feature a mix of players who did well in the IPL and some of those currently in the West Indies – Rinku Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson. Avesh Khan, who was released with Gill, is also in the mix. As reported earlier, a total of eight fresh faces will be travelling to Zimbabwe, including KKR pacer Harshit Rana, Riyan Parag, dynamic Sunrisers Hyderabad batter Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy and CSK's Tushar Deshpande.

All of these youngsters are coming off a memorable season for their respective IPL franchises and with BCCI looking to shape a team for the future – potentially the 2026 T20 World Cup at home – injecting some young blood seems to be the way forward.

VVS Laxman will be serving as the coach of this team and the next head coach – Gautam Gambhir, in all likelihood – taking over from India's limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka.

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