Should India Change Their T20 Captain?

After MS Dhoni decided to vacate his position, Virat Kohli was appointed as India’s limited-overs captain in 2017. At the time, this appeared to be the logical decision given that the 32-year-old became the test captain three years earlier. Currently, Rohit Sharma is the vice-captain, but some believe that the 33-year-old should take over from the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman. In light of this, we looked at whether a change in leadership is something that Indian cricket should consider. 

Deciding Between Kohli and Sharma 

On the face of it, the discussion surrounding the limited-overs captain has two leading contenders in Kohli and Sharma. Regarding natural talent, few can argue that Kohli isn’t one of the greatest batsmen of his generation, particularly in One Day Internationals. As such, he often leads by example on the field of play. In terms of his style, Gagan Khoda, a former national team selector, has described Kohli as being an aggressive and vocal leader. Unlike Dhoni before him, the 32-year-old is having to learn how to channel his passion in the correct manner to ensure on-field safety, striking the right balance between level-headedness and tenacity. The successor of the role may be dependent on India’s success at the upcoming T20 World Cup, which the country is currently +250 to win at cricket betting under Kohli’s leadership, as of December 14th.  

However, from a T20 standpoint, calls for Sharma to take over from Kohli are also fair. In 2017, the 33-year-old became the captain of the Mumbai Indians. Since taking charge of the franchise, the team has won a record-setting five Indian Premier League titles. From a domestic perspective, ESPN Cricinfo reports that Sharma has a 60 percent win record as the Mumbai Indians’ captain. By comparison, Kohli has never taken RCB to IPL success, and, under his leadership, they have a win rate of 47 percent. While, of course, there are differences between domestic and international cricket, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Sharma could lead India’s limited-overs sides. 

What About KL Rahul? 

Upon analyzing the leadership contenders within India’s cricketing scene, it’s perhaps worth considering KL Rahul. Much like Kohli and Sharma, the 28-year-old is the captain of his IPL team, Kings XI Punjab. Recently, following the absence of Sharma, KL Rahul was named as India’s vice-captain in white-ball cricket. By his own admission, the batsman stated his delight at being given the role while also declaring that he “wasn’t expecting” the added responsibility

Because of his impressive recent form in limited-overs cricket, there’s a growing belief that KL Rahul could be India’s next captain. There can be no doubt that the 28-year-old possesses the calmness to lead his country on the international stage, while age is also in his favor. In the coming years, a changing of the guard is inevitable, and that could benefit KL Rahul. Crucially, Kohli is four years KL Rahul’s elder, and much like how the 32-year-old took the responsibility from Dhoni in 2017, a similar change may occur in the coming years. 

Blessed with High-Class Options 

Irrespective of who is India’s present and future limited-overs captain, the country should take pride in having an array of leaders scattered throughout the field. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the role may evade both KL Rahul and Sharma, but they can continue to embrace on-field responsibility without having captaincy status.

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