Beyond me how T20 captaincy was given to Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson: Sanjay Manjrekar

Written by Sumit Seth

Is T20 cricket a format for the youngsters? While a number of young guns have shone in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), two franchises in the final of the tournament have two veteran captains leading their franchises. Still banking on experience over youth when it comes to captaincy, Sanjay Manjrekar has made a bold comment on young guns like Rishabh Pant and Sanjay Manjrekar.

After offloading Steve Smith, Rajasthan Royals appointed Sanju Samson as the captain of the franchise for IPL 2021 season. Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, had Shreyas Iyer as the designated captain but an injury to him ahead of the start of the tournament saw Rishabh Pant take over the reins.

“The two teams that have reached the finals have been led by two seasoned captains – Morgan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I have come to this belief at the moment based on whatever I have seen in the IPL… I just wonder when you are looking at T20 specialist bowlers and batters and all-rounders, I think it’s time for us to also start looking for T20 specialist captains, you know, great T20 captains. It’s beyond me how T20 captaincy is given to a young Rishabh Pant, [he’s] still young cricket wise, young Shreyas Iyer or Sanju Samson,” Manjrekar said in a chat with ESPNCricinfo.

“I just don’t understand the basis of that call because T20 captaincy is tough, it has a great impact… so I believe you’ve got to have brilliant T20 captains captaining sides and then even an ordinary side, I mean, look at CSK they have major weaknesses there but Dhoni has been able to get the best out of his playing XI. And those are the kind of captains IPL teams deserve, captains who are brilliant and just by their leadership and tactics will make a difference.”

At the age of 24, Pant is the youngest captain in the Indian Premier League at present. Whether he will manage to hold on to his role next year or not, remains to be seen.

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Sumit Seth