After Virat Kohli recently stepped down from India’s Test captaincy a day after his side lost the Test series 1-2 to South Africa, the speculations for India’s next red-ball leader is featuring in everyone’s minds.
Ajinkya Rahane, who was Kohli’s deputy for a long time, was axed from the role ahead of the South Africa tour owing to poor form with the bat.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul front-runners to become India’s new Test captain
Rohit Sharma was named as the initial vice-captain of the Test squad before he was ruled out of the South Africa tour owing to a hamstring injury.
KL Rahul was promoted as the vice-captain and also led the team in Johannesburg in Kohli’s absence. Some media reports have also suggested that Rohit and Rahul are the front-runners for India’s red-ball captaincy.
Sunil Gavaskar has also asked Rishabh Pant to be made the Test captain: Aakash Chopra
Cricketer-turned commentator Aakash Chopra believes that Rohit and Rahul will be the ideal choice before the selectors. However, the former Indian player proposed wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant’s name as another potential leader.
“Rohit Sharma seems to be the most obvious choice because he is the ODI and T20I captain at the moment and the last one year was a watershed event for him in Tests. But there are serious questions about his fitness because the hamstring is troubling him since 2020. In theory, it seems alright but will he be able to remain fit?,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“KL Rahul also seems to be an obvious choice. His stature has grown in Test cricket over the last one year. But it is also true that it has happened only after August. He was made to open and has not looked back since. But does he come across as your natural leader?”
“Can we make Rishabh Pant the captain? Sunny bhai (Sunil Gavaskar) has also asked him to be made the Test captain. Not a bad choice but Rishabh Pant goes too much up and down. He is young and his place is certain in the Test side but is he your leader? His captaincy credentials have not been tested yet,” he added.
Kohli took over the reins from MS Dhoni in Test cricket after the latter retired from the red-ball format at the end of 2014. Kohli stood as India’s captain in 68 Test matches and won 40 of them, the best record for any Indian skipper.
Under the leadership of Kohli, India won their first-ever Test series in Australia when they defeated them 2-1 in the 2018/19 Border Gavaskar series.
The team’s approach of playing overseas Test matches transfigured as they developed a winning and fighting attitude under Kohli’s tenure as the captain of the team.