After T20Is, can Rohit Sharma become India’s ODI captain as well?

New Delhi: Star opener Rohit Sharma will begin his stint as Team India’s full-time T20I skipper in the upcoming series against New Zealand and a good performance by the team in these three matches could boost his chances to take over the leadership role in ODIs as well.

With Virat Kohli relinquishing the captaincy in the shortest format of the game after the T20 World Cup, the Chetan Sharma-led National Selection Committee appointed Rohit as the captain of India in T2OIs while KL Rahul is the designated vice-captain.

While this will be his first series as the full-time T20I captain, there can also be a case of the Mumbai-born cricketer making his full-time ODI captaincy debut soon.

As per reports, the BCCI top-brass as well as the new head coach Rahul Dravid want to relieve Kohli of the captaincy burden and see him concentrate more on batting. Hence, the decision- makers and key stake-holders are likely to hold talks with India’s former T20I captain regarding it.

There are three ICC events in the next few years and Virat’s performance with the bat could decide India’s fate in those tournaments. In the last few years, the star batsman has done well but he is not at his absoulte best with the bat and the wait for his 71st international century is becoming longer with every passing day.

The selectors have announced the squad and skippers for the T20Is as well as Test series against New Zealand. While Rohit will lead the India team in the T20 series, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat will captain the side in the first and second Test respectively.

India will play three ODIs in South Africa in January and Rohit could take up the charge right from that series while KL Rahul could be his deputy.

However, before taking a final call on ODI captaincy, the selectors would like to assess few things in India’s T20I series against New Zealand. If India manage to beat the Kiwis comprehensively in the three-match series, then it will give the selectors ample confidence and reason to appoint Rohit as the ODI captain.

There are two major World Cups coming up and the team needs to feel at home under the new management of head coach, Rahul Dravid, and Rohit. The first will be the 2022 T20 World Cup and if Rohit is handed the ODI captaincy as well, he will be leading the team in the 2023 ODI World Cup.

The 34-year old Rohit Sharma has so far led India in 19 T20Is and 10 ODIs. Under him, India won the Nidahas Trophy and 50-over Asia Cup in 2018. He is also a five-time IPL-winning captain.

Split captaincy in India:

With different people at helm in different formats, India is all set to move towards split captaincy. However, the team’s set-up and culture will decide whether it will work or not. Kohli and Sharma’s case are two strong and successful personalities. So, for split-captaincy to work, they will have to manage their egos and strike a good understanding between them for Indian cricket’s success.

Currently, Australia and England have different captains for their red and white-ball teams. And it works for them becuase both Aaron Finch and Eoin Morgan don’t play red-ball games.

With differrent power centres, split captaincy has its challenges. It gets complicated if the two captains also happen to be all-format players and that could be an issue for India to deal with because both Rohit and Kohli play all three formats of the game at present.

One of the India’s most successful captains MS Dhoni also had strong opinion about having different leaders in different formats.

“Split captaincy doesn’t work in India,” Dhoni had said after stepping down in 2017. Even the legendary Kapil Dev has in the past said he isn’t sure the idea will work in India.

So, it will be interesting to see whether split captaincy works in Indian cricket or not.


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