From CK Nayudu to Ajinkya Rahane, India have had 33 captains so far in Test matches and 24 in ODIs. The best thing in Indian management has always been the fact that the next captain was ready long before the existing one had retired, something that teams like Sri Lanka and South Africa are struggling with currently. Dhoni was ready before Ganguly retired, Kohli was groomed before Dhoni retired and this tradition has continued for ages in the country. It is always clear that who the next captain is going to be.
Be it any format of the game, India have always produced legendary captains. Be it Kapil Dev, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli or Sourav Ganguly, or any other captain, they have been regarded as the best captains in their times. The impact of Indian captains on world cricket can be understood by the fact that the captains of ICC’s ODI, Test, and T20 teams of the decade are Indians. While MS Dhoni is the captain of the limited-overs squad, Kohli was hauled with the captaincy of the Test team.
India are currently very well settled with Virat Kohli leading the squad in all the three formats of the game, and Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane to back him up. But, the 2023 World Cup would probably be the last mega event for the Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his companions Rohit and Rahane. In such a scenario, the question arises – who will be India’s next captain? Who will be that leader taking India into yet another realm of glory and fame? We have penned down 5 names, who we think could lead India in the future.
Here are 5 Cricketers India can try as captains after the 2023 World Cup:
1. KL Rahul
After Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the most senior player in the Indian team is KL Rahul who plays all three formats. Ever since the 2019 World Cup, Rahul has been sort of a permanent wicketkeeper for the team in limited-overs cricket. He kept the wickets for India in the T20 series against New Zealand at the start of 2020 and also in the recently concluded T20I and ODI series against Australia.
Rahul was appointed as the captain of the Kings XI Punjab in 2020 and was able to take his team to the sixth spot, after having a rather disappointing start to the tournament. He is quite calm and composed on the field and backs his players whenever required. His understanding of the game is pretty good and he knows what decisions are to be taken concerning the current situation in the game.
The best thing about Rahul is that he thrives with responsibility and we saw it in this IPL as well. As the captain of Kings XI Punjab, he scored 670 runs this IPL and was the Orange Cap holder as well. Not many people know this, but Rahul has actually captained India as well. In the 5th T20 International against New Zealand in 2020, Rohit Sharma, the stand-in captain of India for the game, got injured while batting and didn’t come out during the team’s fielding. As the senior-most player in the team at that moment, Rahul was appointed the captain for New Zealand’s chase.
He comfortably won the game for the team and impressed everyone with his captaincy skills. He received applause from the likes of coach Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli, and other senior players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah for his decision making during the game. With his good understanding of the game and quick thinking, KL Rahul would make a good captain for India.
2. Shreyas Iyer
One of the leading contenders to lead the Indian team after the 2023 World Cup is Shreyas Iyer. Of all the Indian players right now, Iyer has the highest level of experience as a captain. He has been leading the Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils) squad exceptionally well in the last two and a half seasons of the Indian Premier League.
Iyer was appointed the captain of Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) mid-way through the 2018 season, when Gautam Gambhir, who was playing his last season, left the captaincy of the team on account of poor personal performance. The middle-order batsman took on the charge and managed to win 5 games for the team, but could not save them from being tagged as the table bottoms.
The next two years saw the rise of Shreyas Iyer as a player and as a captain. The right-hander led the team to two consecutive playoffs and removed the tag of table bottoms from the team’s name. Such has been the influence of Iyer that Delhi, who was once just a mere participant in the tournament is now regarded as one of the leading contenders for the title.
He led Delhi to their first-ever final in 2020, a feat that even the likes of Virender Sehwag, David Warner, and Gautam Gambhir couldn’t do. The highlights of Iyer’s captaincy include quick decision making, backing his players, leading from the front, and arranging his squad according to the pitches.
Iyer is 26, and at the same time has a mountain of experience behind him. It will be interesting to see if the Indian management will entrust him with the role of a skipper in the upcoming small tours or will KL Rahul be preferred over him.
3. Hardik Pandya
Another top runner in the list of India’s future captains is everyone’s favorite Hardik Pandya. Pandya is India’s solution to everything. He bats ferociously, bowls very well, and is an outstanding fielder. He is a complete cricketer that India always wanted. It has been a very long time since India had an all-rounder as a captain.
As an all-rounder captain, Pandya would be expected to carry forward the legacy of the legend Kapil Dev, who won the 1983 World Cup for the country. He has zero leadership experience but has good control over the game. The all-rounder has been around international cricket for a pretty long time now and is an integral part of the Indian team.
He is confident, bold, aggressive, a very fast learner, and has recently developed a lot of maturity as well. Pandya is a very close mate of Virat Kohli and tries to learn as much as possible from him. Kohli often turns to him for suggestions and advice during the game. Even though he has no leadership experience, the lanky all-rounder does possess the qualities of a leader, qualities the Indian team can bank upon, and if he is made the captain of the team in the future, he’ll certainly take the team to new heights.
4. Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill is the youngest batting prodigy in India at this moment. The 21-year-old right-hander from Punjab has been hauled by a lot of legends and cricket pundits for his exuberant batting skills. He hasn’t played much cricket for India, but as the recent situations have been, it is clear that the youngster is going to be a part of the Indian team for a very long time.
A very infamous fact about Gill is that he is the youngest captain to ever play in the history of the Deodhar Trophy Finals. In the 2019 edition of the Deodhar Trophy, he was appointed as the captain of India C. He announced his arrival in style and smashed a massive score of 143 in the first game itself. India C then went on to the finals of the tournament under the leadership of Gill. They did lose in the finals against India B, but it was a big achievement for Shubman Gill, considering that it was his first tournament as a captain at such a big level.
Following this, Gill was also appointed as the captain of the India A limited-overs squad which travelled to New Zealand at the start of 2020. Gill once again impressed as a captain as he won both the warm-up ODIs and the first unofficial ODI. His performance in the Test series with the bat was also exuberant.
Gill has been backed up by cricketing experts such as Aakash Chopra and Simon Doull. While Akash Chopra debated that Gill to be made captain of KKR ignoring the seniority of Morgan, Doull claimed that Gill will lead an IPL squad in the coming two years.
5. Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey is a very important player in the Indian T20I squad. He rose to fame in 2016 when he struck his maiden century against Australia and finished the game for India chasing a massive total of 331. Since then, the 31-year-old batsman from Karnataka has had a pretty mixed career, being in and out of the national team.
Pandey was appointed the captain of Karnataka’s squad in the 2018-19 season, ignoring the seniority of KL Rahul (for team India) and he led the team to glory in Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. In the very same season, he also created the record of winning the most T20 matches in a year by a captain.
The charming batsman is a natural leader. He likes to take charge in the field and is an excellent reader of the situations in the game. He believes in leading by example and always keeps talking to his players so as to know what they want and to tell them what he expects out of them.
No doubt Pandey is an excellent leader, but the problem with him is his age. By the time the 2023 World Cup would end, Pandey would be around 34-35 years of age, and would be inching towards his closing years as an international cricketer. In such a scenario, India would prefer to invest their time in someone like Shubman Gill, who would have a lot of cricket left ahead of him after 2023.
~ Written by Aayush Pathak
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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