After all speculations and denials over Team India’s leadership, Virat Kohli has finally confirmed that he will be stepping away from T20 captaincy after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup. Kohli stated that he needs some space so that he can focus on his batting as well as leading in Tests and ODIs. While no replacement has been named to take over as the new T20I captain, vice-captain Rohit Sharma seems like a strong candidate. The name of KL Rahul, who has impressed in recent times, is also doing the rounds. While Rohit is already 34, it is still not too late to hand over the T20 captaincy to him.
Even as Kohli will be leading India in the upcoming T20 World Cup, Rohit could get a chance to captain the team in next year’s T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia. Ideally, Kohli should have quit earlier and handed over the reins of white-ball cricket to Rohit. He was clearly struggling with the dual responsibility of leading the team in all three formats apart from being the premier batter in the side as well. Had Kohli stepped aside earlier, Rohit could actually have got a chance to build his team and lead India in the upcoming World Cup. However, as they say, better late than never.
Rohit – A proven leader
The best quality of Rohit as a captain is that he is a proven leader of men. The way he has turned around Mumbai Indians’ (MI) fortune in the IPL is a case study on how to succeed as a skipper. When Rohit took charge of the team, MI was a team of superstars but one that was supremely under-performing. Under his guidance though, the franchise has become the most successful one in the history of the T20 league. With Rohit at the helm. MI have won five titles and have become a comprehensive unit.
The beauty of Rohit the leader is that he is extremely calm and composed. Players, be it, seniors or newcomers, feel rather comfortable playing under him. A number of MI cricketers have openly expressed their admiration for Rohit the captain, crediting him for their success as a franchise and on an individual level as well. Apart from being a balanced leader, Rohit is a shrewd thinker as well. You cannot win five championship crowns just by being unruffled. There is a method to the MI skipper’s leadership style. He knows when to defend and when to go in for the kill. His calculated mind is definitely that of a cricketing genius.
More than decent record as India leader
For critics who point out that Rohit’s IPL success is not enough proof of him being a great leader, the fact is that the 34-year-old has tasted decent success as an Indian captain as well. In the short period that he has led India as a stop-gap skipper when Kohli was unavailable, Rohit has been rather impressive. He has led India in 10 ODIs, of which the side has won eight and lost two. In T20Is, India have won 15 of the 19 games that Rohit has led the team in.
That’s not all, Rohit has also captained India to title wins. With him as skipper, India won the 2018 Nidahas T20 Trophy in Sri Lanka as well as the 2018 ODI Asia Cup in the UAE. As a leader, he has looked assured and confident in international cricket as well. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Indian cricket has missed a trick by not elevating him to the leadership role in the white-ball formats earlier. All is still not lost though. If Rohit is asked to lead India at next year’s T20 World Cup, he will have a chance to add another feather in his illustrious cap. The big question though remains – will the much-deserved opportunity come Rohit’s way?