BENGALURU: For a team that was appearing to be sailing smooth, India are suddenly finding themselves in a tight spot. From having the same captain across all formats, they shifted to two captains and now are without one for the Test team with Virat Kohli deciding to step aside. Amidst these changes, India are entering a new phase in the ODIs with an eye on the 2023 World Cup and the three-match series against South Africa could also turn into an audition for the Test captaincy as in Rohit Sharma’s absence, KL Rahul takes the mantle with Jasprit Bumrah name too doing the rounds.
The job ahead of the selectors is already huge. With Rohit handed the responsibility to revive the performance of the limited-overs team, it remains to be seen if they will make them Test captain, especially if one considers his fitness issues. At 34, it will be too much of an ask for Rohit to manage three roles with the national team apart from captaining the IPL side. Which leaves the selectors to consider Rahul as an option with the off-field calls being Bumrah.
At present, everything is mere speculation. The reason for not having a ready-made replacement to Kohli is also the failure of the team management to groom his successor. When MS Dhoni, like Kohli, surprisingly quit Test captaincy in 2014, a 26-year-old man from Delhi was ready. The same can be said when Dhoni took over the captaincy in the longer format. Maybe, the management had smooth plans with Ajinkya Rahane replacing Kohli, but the former has not been impressive with the bat, making his position in the team questionable.
“We are all here to help in any way we can. That is how players are responding to the changes that are happening. Everyone is respectful and understands how the process is going, the change is constant. I don’t think anyone is facing a problem with the change as everybody understands the change. They have played enough cricket and know that this is the way the game goes. This is the way one has to move forward,” said Bumrah, who also praised Kohli for his energy and bringing the fitness culture during his leadership.
India, like most teams, have traditionally picked batters as captain with Anil Kumble being the excepting in recent times. If selectors look beyond Rohit, Bumrah is an option as he is among the first names in the XI and with age on his side could be a long-term option too.