Following India’s triumph at the T20 World Cup 2024, cricket legend Virender Sehwag has backed Shubman Gill as the next captain of the T20I team. The decision bypassed the current vice-captain, Hardik Pandya. This revelation came soon after Rohit Sharma announced his retirement from the T20I format. He and Ravindra Jadeja announced their T20I retirement on the same day.

India’s win against South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2024 final in Barbados was a spectacular climax to the tournament. The Indian team, batting first, set a formidable target of 176/7 in their 20 overs. Star batsman Virat Kohli led the charge with a sublime knock of 76 runs. Axar Patel’s crucial 47 helped anchor the innings. The two batters built a 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket, setting a competitive target for the South Africans.

South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen scored a quickfire 52. This was supported by contributions from Quinton de Kock and Tristan Stubbs. Despite needing just 30 runs from the last 30 balls, the South African team faltered under India’s pressure. Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Arshdeep Singh shone in the death overs. Their efforts restricted South Africa to 168/8 and secured a seven-run victory for India.

Following this high, Virender Sehwag endorsed Shubman Gill for the captaincy. The decision surprised many, given that Hardik Pandya is the current vice-captain. The endorsement came as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Gill as the captain for the upcoming T20I series against Zimbabwe. This series will see a comparably inexperienced Indian squad. Many senior players, including Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, are rested.

Despite the team missing the playoffs, Shubman Gill’s experience as captain of the Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2024 has influenced this decision. Sehwag, discussing the appointment, highlighted Gill’s potential and recent form as key factors.

“Shubman Gill is for the long haul. He’s a player who plays all three formats. He’s had a great last year. He was unlucky to miss out on the 2024 T20 World Cup. I believe it is the right decision to make him the captain. When Rohit Sharma leaves tomorrow, Shubman Gill will be his right replacement for captaincy,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.

India’s upcoming five-match T20I series against Zimbabwe starts on July 6 in Harare. It will serve as a litmus test for Gill’s leadership. This new chapter for Indian cricket, with Shubman Gill at the helm, signifies a strategic shift towards nurturing young talent. It is all about preparing for a future beyond the current veterans. With the endorsement from a cricketing great like Virender Sehwag, Gill’s appointment holds promise for a successful transition and continued dominance in cricket’s shortest format.

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