With Team India looking to make a fresh start, after a a forgettable campaign in the T20 World Cup where they eliminated in the semis after a loss to England, all eyes will be on captain Hardik Pandya. India have rested regular skipper Rohit Sharma along with most of the players from the World Cup squad. Hardik, who has been touted to take over the role from Rohit in the format, has been handed the responsibility of leading the young India side in the three-match series against New Zealand that begins in Wellington on Friday. Ahead of the start of the series, former India head coach Ravi Shastri revealed what would be the impact of having Hardik as the captain. (India vs New Zealand Live Score 1st T20)

Speaking to the broadcasters before the start of the series opener in Sky Stadium, with has been delayed due to rain, Shastri opined that when a player as impactful as Hardik, as was Kapil Dev, leads the side, other players in the team are bound to get inspired and lift their game up as well.

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“He has got that flamboyance and that exuberance. So that will reflect on the players in the team. I remember when Kapil Dev was captain. When you have an impact player and when you have all-rounder, when you have a player who is on the thick of action right through those 20 overs it makes a massive difference. It lifts the spirit of others and inspire others to emulate him. So I’m really looking forward to the way Hardik leads,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, VVS Laxman, the stand-in India coach, said the all-rounder is a ‘players’ captain’.

“He is a fabulous leader. We have seen what he has done in IPL. I have spent time with him from Ireland. His presence and work ethic are exemplary. He is a players’ captain and is approachable. Players confide in him. He leads by example,” Laxman said on the eve of the series opener in Wellington.