Ravi Shastri: IPL, an opportunity to find the future Indian captain

Shastri will return to the commentary panel for the 2022 edition of the IPL. He will have Suresh Raina for company.

Ravi Shastri will return to the commentary panel for the 2022 edition of the IPL.   -  FILE PHOTO/ NAGARA GOPAL

Former India captain and erstwhile national coach Ravi Shastri believes that the Indian Premier League, which begins on Saturday, will give the national selectors an opportunity to see how youngsters lead their sides.

Along with the seasoned campaigners like M.S. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, some of the young guns - K.L. Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya - will be leading their respective teams. And Shastri, who returns to the commentary panel after a long stint as the coach of the Indian team, believes that the tournament is an opportunity to unearth a ‘solid’ future captain for the Indian team.

“With Virat not being the captain anymore, Rohit has also been outstanding, especially in white ball. He has won more IPLs than anyone else. That’s a massive achievement, considering Dhoni is also in the house in terms of the number of IPL trophies,” Shastri said on Tuesday during a press conference organised by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of IPL 2022.

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“India will be looking closely at the newcomers who will be captaining teams — whether it is Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya. I know Rishabh over the last few years, he has got one hell of a cricket brain.

“It is a great opportunity for selectors to see how these youngsters captain their sides because India will be looking for a solid captain for the future. Rohit is still around for the next couple of years but after that, they will look for a good white-ball captain and here is the opportunity,” Shastri said.

“…That is the beauty of the IPL, it produces players out of nowhere… Before the start of the season, you might not have seen a player, but after the season, everyone will take a name you have not even mentioned earlier. Last IPL we saw Venkatesh Iyer, no one had heard of him and by the time it got over he was in the Indian team. So you expect the unexpected.”

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Having watched the league closely, Shastri understands that the huge price tags could often put a player under huge pressure, and he suggests that it is important to go back to the basics.

“It is important to forget the money part of it. That’s come and gone. You have to go back to the basics and start from scratch. It is easier said than done. If you start living in the memory of how much you made, that is going to create extra pressure on you…”

And that’s where a good captain comes to the scene. According to Shastri, who will be part of the commentary panel of Star Sports along with Suresh Raina, it is the captain’s duty to ensure that he lets the young player absorb the pressure.

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