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Eight years back, Virat Kohli had revealed a secret when asked as to who apart from him and MS Dhoni had the ability to lead the India team. He had said, “Rohit Sharma has a tremendous cricketing brain. He is a captain material.”
Today that thought is reiterated by Kohli – as he steps down from the T-20 captaincy.
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli announced on Thursday that he will be stepping down as the T20I captain after the completion of the men’s T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE in October.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) September 16, 2021
Kohli has taken this decision to manage his workload, which has been quite high. In the last 5-6 years as he has led India in all three formats. Though he has been playing in all three formats for “last 8-9 years”, Kohli will continue to do so and said he will continue to contribute as a batsman in the T20s.
The development comes just three days after BCCI Treasurer had announced that Kohli will be the captain in all formats, quashing speculations on whether Kohli’s deputy Rohit Sharma will take over as captain in white-ball cricket.
And so, after Kohli announced his decision, the first question that came to all cricket lovers’ mind was: Who would be the next captain?
And Rohit leads the chart, without a shred of doubt.
The charisma of Rohit has been on the rise ever since, as the Mumbaikar has earned himself a reputation of being a strong leader among his teammates. His exploits as the captain of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) bear testimony to that fact.
This is also supported by the fact that Kohli specifically mentioned Rohit in his announcement note posted on Twitter, stating that he had discussed his decision with coach Ravi Shastri and the Mumbai opener.
The 34-year-old opener is one of the most experienced players in the squad and is also the vice-captain of the limited-over sides, making him the prime contender for the job once Kohli relinquishes T20I captaincy at the end of the T20 World Cup.
Rohit also has an envious record in the IPL, having led Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles and captained India in 10 ODIs and 19 T20Is, winning 8 and 15, respectively.
Rohit Sharma has a phenomenal record as a T20 captain. Good Decision by Virat passing on #captaincy smoothly after T20 World Cup. Chance for Rohit Sharma now to transfer his Trophy winning MI record to an Indian national Team!#ViratKohli #T20WC2021#RohitSharma #BCCI #Rohit pic.twitter.com/8DFjCrL3QE
— ɴɪꜱᴀʀ ᴀʜᴇᴍᴀᴅ (@nisar_ahemad45) September 16, 2021
While India’s record under Kohli in T20Is has been good, Kohli the skipper is still searching for his first ICC trophy. And what better opportunity and motivation for him to break the jinx than to win the trophy when the ICC T20 World Cup commences in the UAE and Oman from October 17.
Kohli made his T20I captaincy debut in the three-match T20I series against England in 2017, thereby becoming the captain of India in all formats. In 45 T20Is, Kohli led India to 27 wins and 14 losses with two matches tied and two matches yielding no result, becoming India’s second most successful skipper in the format after MS Dhoni. Kohli also became the first India captain to register T20I bilateral series wins in South Africa (2-1) and England (2-1) in 2018 followed by New Zealand (5-0) and Australia (2-1) in 2020.
Essentially, for a long time now, split captaincy has been a hot topic in Indian cricket. Many have suggested that Rohit should be given the charge of leadership, at least of the T20 side, especially considering the workload on Kohli and his ‘shortcomings’ as a leader in ICC tournaments.
Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar too shared on Thursday, “It’s a good thing that the BCCI is looking ahead. It’s important to think ahead.” Gavaskar was quoted as saying.
He added, “If India are looking to groom a new captain, then KL Rahul can be looked at. He has performed well. Even now in England, his batting was very good. He has been performing well in IPL and 50-overs cricket as well at the international stage.”
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