Virat Kohli, the regular Indian all format skipper is likely to step down as the white-ball (ODI & T20Is) captain after the T20 World Cup in October-November, paving the way for Rohit Sharma to take up the responsibility.
The script for Team India’s white-ball story is set to undergo a huge change in the coming months.
Virat Kohli May Step Down As Limited Overs Skipper To Concentrate On His Batting
Virat Kohli (32), who currently leads the team across all formats and is India’s most successful captain ever, is learned to have taken the call to share leadership responsibilities with Rohit Sharma (34), according to the BCCI sources. Virat Kohli has had prolonged discussions with Rohit Sharma and the team management over the last few months, particularly after Team India’s triumph in Australia, one that coincided with Virat Kohli becoming a father.
“Virat himself will make the announcement. He is of the view that he needs to concentrate on his batting and go back to becoming what he’s always been — the best batsman in the world,” sources said.
While this development is going to create a huge buzz in the media and social media, BCCI has been busy gearing up for this moment.
“We realize spin-masters will be at work, giving their own twists to these developments. That’s the reason BCCI is planning this well in advance. In the end, Virat and Rohit are on the same page,” the sources revealed.
It was first reported about Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s growing camaraderie and renewed friendship in March this year and how the long quarantines and isolation windows had brought the two ‘alpha males’ in the dressing room closer than ever. Virat Kohli feels his batting, across formats, needs more time and greater impetus as Team India looks at two World Cups – T20 and ODI – between 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Between 2018 and now, he’s led India to some historic Test wins in Australia and England, and his team now stands on the brink of repeating a similar feat in South Africa should India succeed on that tour in the coming months.
“It will wrap up a historic Test cycle from an India perspective. Virat is also the first to realize that his overall responsibilities as captain across formats are taking a toll on his batting. He needs that space and freshness because he has a lot more to offer.
“If Rohit takes over as white-ball captain, Virat can continue leading India’s red-ball aspirations and work on his T20 and One-day batting. He’s just 32 and given his fitness, he will easily play top cricket for another five to six years at least,” say those in the know.
Rohit Sharma has also inspired the team in Virat Kohli’s absence to memorable triumphs in Asia Cup and Nidahas Trophy, besides leading Mumbai Indians to an unprecedented five IPL titles.
One of India’s most successful captains, Virat Kohli led India in 95 ODIs, and with 65 wins and 27 defeats. In 45 T20Is so far where he has been the captain, India has won 27 times while losing 14 times. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, 34, has led India 10 times in ODIs and led them to victories on eight occasions. In T20Is, he has captained them 19 times of which they have won 15 and lost four.
Rohit Sharma’s Time Has Arrived At Captaining Indian White Ball Limited Overs Team: BCCI Sources
Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, is in the form of his life across formats and enjoys the status as a senior member of the squad. His T20 captaincy records are second to none, having won five IPL titles for the Mumbai Indians, and the fact that he happens to be among the world’s best white-ball openers is not lost on anyone.
“If he had to ever take over as white-ball captain, that time is now. And it’s going to be a win-win for the Indian team because the two senior cricketers are so well in tune with each other,” said a source.
Of course, Rohit Sharma will have to ensure he maintains top-level fitness. Virat Kohli has led by example on that front. For the record, MS Dhoni coming aboard as a mentor has nothing to do with the captaincy.
“MS has come as a mentor because his mere presence in the dugout will help the team strategize better. When you have such resources at your disposal, why not use them at the opportune moment,” BCCI sources said.
MS Dhoni had stepped down as Test skipper in 2014 in Australia, with BCCI handing over the reins to Virat Kohli. The Delhi dasher became the leader in all formats in 2017 when MS Dhoni stepped down from that role as well.