On the eve of the T20I series opener against New Zealand, India's stand-in coach VVS Laxman commended captain Hardik Pandya for his leadership skills. "He's a fabulous leader," Laxman said. "We've seen what he has done at Gujarat in the IPL. Someone taking on the leadership role in the first year itself and winning the Cup is no mean achievement.
Laxman was part of India's coaching staff during their tour of Ireland earlier this year. "I have spent time with him from the Ireland series. He is not only tactically good but also very calm on the field. That's very important when you're playing at the highest level, because there will be situations where you will be under pressure. That's when as a leader you have to be calm.
"But also, his presence in the dressing room and his work ethics are exemplary. He way he leads on the field is fabulous. He is a players' captain; he is very approachable. All players confide in him, and that's something I really like about him as captain. He leads by example on and off the field."The T20I rubber is an as an opportunity for both India and New Zealand to quickly get over the dejection they experienced last week when they made a semifinal exit from the World Cup despite being among the favourites for the title.