Hardik Pandya has had a great start to life as captain of the Gujarat Titans and India legend Harbhajan Singh is not only unsurprised, he is also convinced the experience will improve the all-rounder's skills as a cricketer.
The Gujarat Titans could not have dreamed of a better start to life in the IPL. The fresh franchise is playing in its first-ever season in 2022 and chose Pandya as their leader for the inaugural campaign.
To say things are going well would be an understatement and a disservice to the work that Pandya and the rest of the squad have put in to get up to speed so quickly in the world's premier franchise T20 competition.
Hardik Pandya's perfect start
The Titans, at this point, are the only team to remain undefeated in the 2022 edition of the IPL after picking up three wins from their first three games, including a dramatic six-wicket, final-ball win over the Punjab Kings on Friday.
And they have every chance of keeping that perfect run going when they head to the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy Stadium in Mumbai to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.
Singh has hailed the decision to trust Pandya with the captaincy and believes the added responsibility will help get his head in the right place on the field.
"He seems to be relishing his role as a captain and leading the team from the front," Singh said on the Cricket Live Show on Star Sports.
"He's performing with the bat for Gujarat Titans and has also started bowling well which are good signs for Team India as well."
Back on India's radar
Even more importantly, for Pandya at least, is Singh is convinced this has put the 28-year-old back in the spotlight for a recall to the national team.
"Look, he aims to make his India come back and if he can start giving those five-six overs with the ball then it will be a big positive for the national side because they'll need a player of his calibre in the T20 World Cup in Australia," Singh.
Pandya fell out of favour with the India selectors after a disappointing showing at the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE last year, with questions especially being asked about his ability or willingness to maintain a certain level of fitness.
"I believe that the responsibility of leading a team will only make Hardik a better player, a better captain, and a better person. Something similar happened with Rohit Sharma as well," Singh said.
"Hardik is representing every person who wishes to rise from the bottom and make a mark for himself."