Back in December 2014, Virat Kohli took over as India’s Test captain after MS Dhoni quit the format following the Melbourne Test. Then in 2017, the Delhi-born Kohli got the leadership role in the ODI and T20I format as well.
Albeit he doesn’t have any ICC trophy in his closet, his numbers as the skipper, irrespective of the format, is worth envying. He has only grown in fandom and stature. In September 2019, he surpassed Dhoni as India’s most successful Test captain. The 2-0 series triumph in the West Indies took Virat to 28 victories.
However, at the age of 31, he isn’t getting any youngster. Leading in all three formats can turn out be taxing for him in the future. In that case, India should have their backup ready and focus on grooming players for the permanent role.
In the article, let’s take a look at three players, who can replace Virat Kohli as India’s captain: –
1. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is currently the vice-captain of India’s ODI and T20I teams. The 33-year-old mostly takes over as the national skipper when Kohli isn’t in the playing eleven and he hasn’t disappointed by any means. The Nagpur-born cricketer started his captaincy stint with a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka at Dharamsala in 2017.
But he has a win percentage of 80 in the ODI format. In T20Is, Rohit has guided India to 15 wins in 19 games. If Virat steps away at some point, there isn’t much doubt that Rohit’s name would be contemplated.
Also, Rohit also has transcended Virat in the Indian Premier League. Rohit has led the Mumbai Indians to four titles. Virat, on the other hand, has floundered as the Royal Challengers Bangalore have mostly finished at the bottom of the table.
2. Ajinkya Rahane
In 2016, Ajinkya Rahane was appointed as Kohli’s deputy in Tests. Even in 2020, the management has persisted with the Mumbai cricketer and he hasn’t flattered to deceive. He has been one of India’s stalwart in the middle-order and it won’t be easy to fill his boots when he decides to step away.
In the longest format, Rahane has won India matches against Australia and Afghanistan. The 31-year-old also has had the experience of leading the national team in ODIs and T20Is. Back in 2015, when India toured Zimbabwe for bilateral series’, Rahane was named the skipper.
MS Dhoni, India’s regular captain back then, was rested. In four out of five games on the tour, the Men in Blue came out trumps. Moreover, Ajinkya has also captained the Rajasthan Royals in the cash-rich IPL.
3. KL Rahul
Unlike Rohit and Rahane, Rahul doesn’t have the experience of leading India at the highest level. But the fact that he has a decent cricketing brain can’t be denied. Of late, he also showed flexibility of batting at different slots in the lineup.
In recent times, the 27-year-old also has taken over as the wicketkeeper in ODIs and T20Is after Rishabh Pant injured himself in the series against Australia. The management was happy with Rahul to such an extent that he was persisted with as the keeper even for the New Zealand tour.
At the start of 2019, Rahul strained for form, but he has re-stamped his authority in the shorter formats. The Karnataka-born Rahul has also been made the skipper of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the IPL after Ravichandran Ashwin was traded to the Delhi Capitals (DC)
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