It might be hard to see the silver lining in the larger scheme of things when the captain is forced out of the way in a manner of speaking. But could this also be to India’s advantage?
Under Virat Kohli, on technical terms, team India have a reputation to uphold. As the past winners of the Test series down under, the onus does fall on the captain and therefore, on Virat Kohli to ensure that India show that the past victory was not a fluke. But without Kohli, does that equation not now become dynamic?
Technical points like these are hard to uphold. Rarely does it matter that the team has a different captain and does not somehow have an obligation to follow up on its previous wins. From that point of view, the onus of burden is really not so much on Kohli who is liable for only one Test performance but rather on Ajinkya Rahane who takes over from Kohli after the first Test.
But while the team will consider it a heavy disadvantage to lose their regular captain not to mention a belligerent one but also, arguably their best batsman in the side, and the opposition will see this as a big chink in the opposition’s armour, the team is already given a jail free card. Without their regular captain and mainstay batsman, few teams would stand a chance to win and particularly overseas. India might already have a cop-out.
But wait, there could be more.
Without the pressure on Virat Kohli and indirectly on ‘his’ team to pull off another overseas win, the team might actually be given a license to play the game slightly differently and perhaps even a different direction under the new albeit temporary captain. It might not be a radical facelift, but it might be impetus enough wherein some of the players, under pressure under more rigid rules, might find themselves freer and perhaps empowered to experiment and come up trumps.
Sometimes there is the danger that the longer a regular captain occupies his position, the greater he is under pressure to follow some plans to a T, in order to let the results justify his position. It might set the captain into patterns he might even not be aware of and might set the team on a path where some players, for fear of loss of their own place in the team, might tend to curb their natural instinct or their evolution. A different captain might be the answer to break that mould, even in the midst of an arduous tour.
India have to see the blessing in what is obviously a handing of a possibility of an easier win at the outsight knowing Australia have to see off Kohli for one match. Rediscovering the game under a new captain – Rahane is fairly young in terms of captaincy experience- might give India an unusual edge.