Virat Kohli has been one of the most successful captains in Indian history. Successful, of course, is in terms of results. The sad truth is that no matter how many wins this Indian team racks up, there will always be those who point to zero honours won under Kohli.
Yes, it’s true. India suffered a semi-final exit at the World Cup. They also lost in the WTC final to New Zealand despite being favourites. This Indian team is the best in the world today from an objective point of view, and can beat anybody.
Yet, fans are quick to question the team in big games, and the captain in Kohli. It doesn’t help that there is another player who is captain material in the team, and that is Rohit Sharma.
Rohit Sharma is one of the best players in the Indian team, and more crucially, has been a successful captain. As skipper of Mumbai Indians, he has won multiple IPL trophies. He has shown that he can make important decisions when it matters.
Crucially, he backs players and allows them to express themselves. With Kohli leading India in all three formats of the game, it begs the question – should Rohit captain India in white-ball cricket?
Firstly, it is to be noted that whenever Kohli has been ruled out, Rohit has done well. On the leadership front, he can’t be faulted. The other thing to note is as mentioned earlier, his pedigree in the IPL. The IPL is a huge tournament, and leading your team to glory multiple times is a big deal.
Moreover, Indian cricket is at a stage right now where there is nothing wrong with the team, but there is no peak either. While that is not Kohli’s fault at all, it is still a niggling issue.
The fact remains that despite objectively being a better batsman and captain than the great Ganguly, Kohli’s India will be remembered less because of the lack of team trophies. It’s unfortunate and perhaps a disservice to the talents of Kohli, but it is fan culture.
Nobody is saying that India will magically win everything under Rohit, but it can’t hurt to try at this point. Moreover, several legends of Indian cricket have backed Rohit for a shot at captaincy, including the outspoken Gautam Gambhir.
We are seeing split captaincy being followed by teams like England and Australia, to relative success. This is where India has to make a decision regarding captaincy. If Rohit captains the white ball side, Kohli can play freely, while also leading the side in Test Cricket.
The other side of the argument
However, there is an opposite side to this. Rohit captaining the side is all well and good, but it’s a move that doesn’t feel like a step-up. As far as captaincy is concerned, it’s not like Kohli is a bad captain; in fact, he is one of the best captains in recent memory.
The kind of wins India has pulled out, the mentality in the team, the sheer wealth of options available on the roster and the development of young players have all gone through an upgrade with Kohli at the helm.
Even if you want to consider the trophies bit, it doesn’t overrule the fact that India have been very successful. They have beaten Australia and England away, and are not called the best travelling side in the world for nothing.
Moreover, Kohli has overseen exceptional form in the team in all three formats, and that must account for something. If it must come to that, over the last few years, he has been the most consistent performer for India, and the talisman of the team.
In the end, the conundrum of Rohit being captain is something that fans would want to see. However, as mentioned before, it’s not an easy decision, because in no way, shape or form is the Kohli-led India undergoing a rough patch. They are at the top of their game, and even thinking of uprooting those foundations is bold at best.
There is of course the off chance that Rohit could go one step further and lead the team to trophies while playing the same level of cricket. However, it is a heavy decision to make, and one that is very high risk-high reward.