BCCI, today, released the names of 15 players who will be touring Zimbabwe next month. India will be playing 3 ODIs and 2 T20 matches. The biggest surprise and the talking point of this particular team selection is Ajinkya Rahane, who has been made the captain of the Indian team.
A number of regular players have been rested for this tour and a string of veteran cricketers have made their comeback in the Indian team.
Those who are making a comeback are Robin Uthhappa, Manoj Tiwary, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Vijay and Karn Sharma. Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey and pacer Sandeep Sharma get a chance for the first time to play for the Indian squad.
But the decision to make Rahane the captain of India has grabbed some serious eyeballs. Rahane has been known as a technically rich batsman in the batting circuit but for the first time he will be leading India in a tournament. He is the 23rd Indian ODI captain and the 6th Indian captain from Mumbai after Wadekar, Gavaskar, Shastri, Vengsarkar and Tendulkar.
Rahane’s prior captaincy experience includes only two matches. In March 2010, he led one the T20 side and in February 2012 he led his team in a List A match. Unfortunately, both the times his side lost. So the natural question which comes to mind is on what basis he given the leadership authority?
Well, to be frank, India will be playing a lowly-ranked team (Zimbabwe is ranked 11 in the ICC ODI rankings). So it is a good opportunity to test the leadership skills of Rahane against a comparatively weaker team in the limited overs format.
Rahane much like Dhoni, is a very cool and calm guy. Hardly anyone has ever seen any emotion being reflected on his body language. He is a very intelligent batsman and is no doubt an equally intelligent guy.
Maybe the selectors or the BCCI is in search of another Mahendra Singh Dhoni and they want to experiment and see if Rahane can fit in Dhoni’s shoes, rather can he turn out to be another Dhoni for India.
Although India has Virat Kohli ready to lead India after the Dhoni retires, Virat is no way similar to Dhoni from any angle. Both of their captaincy styles are very different from each other.
Kohli too had got very limited chances to lead India in the limited overs format, may be the BCCI wants to keep Rahane in contention in case Kohli fails to deliver in future.
Now, since Rahane’s prior captaincy endeavors are extremely limited, we cannot possibly derive any viable conclusion or generate any futuristic comments about his captaincy. It will be really interesting to see how he leads the team in Zimbabwe.
But if we keep the hosts recent performances in mind, they gave Pakistan a good fight in the series which was played last month in Pakistan. So Rahane has to be cautious and see to it that this Zimbabwe tour does not become another ‘Bangladesh’ blunder for India.