In India’s dressing room at Old Trafford, Virat Kohli, skipper watched as New Zealand upstaged his team out of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. In the lead up to the tournament, India hadn’t won a series in that year. Their batsmen were playing a style of cricket that seemed stale, and the ‘thought’ of elimination hovered in the mind.
During the Cricket World Cup, the Indian team won eight out nine league games – eventually topping the points table. And in the must-win game against Kiwis, they were all over the place. Chasing 239 against the third-ranked side, the chase looked easy and within the range. However, what followed was the tale of their last year stint.
After the horrific defeat, the players were shattered and slumped in a quiet place. At that stage, cricket pundits around the globe questioned Virat Kohli’s ability to lead the side in limited-overs. The reports even suggested that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was planning split captaincy.
However, Virat, who had made himself unavailable for West Indies tour, went onto play the full series and led by an example. To search in the outline a little more, India has been consistent under his leadership and was certainly one of the most dominant sides in the recently concluded World Cup.
He has certainly been able to add that extra feature of fitness that has reflected on the team’s performance on most of the occasions. In these circumstances, when the Indian team is started to focus on their skills, fitness, techniques, and winning games – will it be a right move for Rohit Sharma to take over? – In this case, the answer is no.
With this, CricTracker brings to you the five reasons why Rohit Sharma shouldn’t captain the Indian team anytime soon.
1. IPL success shouldn’t be used as a parameter
Rohit Sharma. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Rohit Sharma has been remarkably best in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Mumbai Indians, winning three titles for the side in twelve editions. However, should IPL success be considered as a parameter for national captaincy? There is a fine difference between International cricket and IPL. International cricket is way more intense and presents the players with high-intensity and pressure situations more than IPL does.
Yes, Virat Kohli has not won the IPL but we are forgetting that he hasn’t failed to lead from the front. He has never had a settled team at his disposal, a team that knows how to deliver the finishing punch. Luck plays an important role in the IPL and Virat Kohli has been unlucky so far. He has been part of three finals with RCB and has lost all three of them. This does tell one a lot.
Virat’s captaincy has shown us that this Indian team is willing to fight and won’t easily back down from it. This was present during Dada’s stint but somewhat looked faded in the captains who followed.
2. Virat Kohli’s ability to lead from the front
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Watching this India team play is like following a long-distance race where the gap between the winner and the others gradually opens up—that’s how Virat Kohli’s team gets the opposition in Tests. There’s little to separate the sides in the early skirmishes, but as the contest hots up the difference in quality begins to show. Antigua was the latest example of this. India and West Indies were neck and neck till the end of the first innings, but as the game wore on, the superiority in-depth and strength in the visitors’ rank became pronounced.
A key component is his ability to lead from the front. The responsibility of leading a side does not wear out his batting, it does just the opposite. Kohli’s incendiary record as a batsman only got hotter as a captain (he averages 61.82 as skipper, and 53.38 overall in Tests).
There have been many captains who have been worn out by the pressure of leading the side. Even a batsman of Rahul Dravid’s stature lost his edge and decided he was better off without the extra responsibility. Ganguly was an excellent man-manager, had a great eye for talent and conviction as a leader, but batting became a chore for him as his captaincy progressed. Dhoni was a limited Test batsman, to begin with; his strength was the ability to read the game from his vantage point behind the stumps.
3. Experience of leading India in high-profile games
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Indian selectors, thus far, have seen Rohit Sharma as the second face of Indian cricket. In the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma has been allowed to lead the side and taking nothing away from the individual, he has done considerably well.
Rohit took India to victory in the famous Nidahas Trophy. In 2018, he also helped the Indian team to get their hands-on Asia Cup in Dubai. However, if we see it from a close eye, Rohit has mostly led the side against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which haven’t been able to give the Indian team a tough fight.
The experience to lead India in the high-profile games still tilts in favor of Virat Kohli and he has done exceedingly well to continue to occupy the position.
4. Time left before World Cup T20 2020
Rohit Sharma. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
After suffering a horrific defeat in the World Cup semi-final, India’s next focus will shift to next year’s T20 World Cup. The Indian team is left with 13 months of preparations and the idea of the camp will be to keep aside the suffered losses and start fresh in the tournament.
Though Rohit Sharma has a better T20 record as captain than Virat Kohli but making a paradigm shift in Indian camp right now may affect India’s performance in the longer run.
If at all the management wish to tinker with the captaincy pattern they will be tempted to do after the tournament gets over. This means India’s performance in the year and a half will define Rohit Sharma’s captaincy fortunes.
5. Lack of consistency in T20s and Tests
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Rohit Sharma hasn’t been able to stamp his authority in the longest format of the game which isn’t a secret anymore. After MS if anyone knows the team inside out, it is Virat Kohli. It plays a major role in captaincy, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your players who feature in all three formats of the game.
Virat has identified with these although there are some areas yet to fill the fact is that Virat knows this team better than any other member. He precisely knows which player to play in which conditions and that’s the ultimate job of the skipper of the team.
Players have their game-plan set according to a particular condition and when it is given to them, they excel. Virat has realized this and Rohit is still in his early stages of captaincy to even come close to this. When you know your team inside-out, you have won 50% of the battle even before you have stepped into the field.
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