Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar believes that when Rohit Sharma leads the Indian Test team in the absence of Virat Kohli in Australia, in this much-awaited series, he has the ‘best chance to claim the captaincy of the team in a limited-overs format. ‘ Will happen. Mumbai Indians have won the fifth Indian Premier League title under Rohit. After this, the demand to appoint a different captain in different formats in the Indian team has started intensifying.
In the absence of Kohli, India also won the Asia Cup title under Rohit. Ajinkya Rahane has been named vice-captain of the Test team but Akhtar feels that Rohit will be given the captaincy responsibility after the first Test at the Adelaide Oval.
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Indian captain Kohli will return home after the first Test to give birth to his first child. Asked about the captaincy of the Indian Test team in the absence of Kohli, Akhtar said, “My stand on this is very clear.” As much as I know, Virat is desperate to take the team forward. It depends on how tired he is feeling. He has been playing continuously since 2010. He has scored 70 centuries and many more runs.
“If he is feeling tired, then he should consider giving Rohit the leadership role in a format (primarily in T20),” he said.
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45-year-old Akhtar said, “I could see the dullness on his (Rohit) face in the IPL, it was probably due to living in a biologically safe environment, he seemed a bit tense.” It all depends on how he is feeling. Rohit has been ready for the captaincy for some time.
This series will be Rohit’s first series as an opener in foreign conditions and he will have a tough challenge facing the fast bowlers like Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. He said, ‘Rohit is one of India’s greatest batsmen. He now understands the true value of his talent.
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Akhtar, who played 46 Tests and 163 ODIs for Pakistan, said, “He will have the best chance to prove himself as a captain in Australia.” He will try to exploit this opportunity with both hands. He has the talent and ability to lead the team. It will be a tough challenge for India.
India won the series for the first time in Australia two years ago, but in the absence of Kohli, this time India’s path will be more difficult, while the return of David Warner and Steve Smith will strengthen Australia’s team. Akhtar said, “From my point of view India have the ability to win the series again but if the middle order does not perform then I think they will be seen battling. People will watch this series with great interest, including me.
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He said, ‘Day-night test will be his biggest challenge. If India plays well in these conditions then anything can happen. India is good in all departments with better bowling and in the last three Tests, Kohli will be replaced by Lokesh Rahul.
Akhtar said, “It will take two to three innings to achieve the rhythm in foreign conditions. You cannot drive on a bouncing ball and have to play shots close to the body. It will be exciting to see what the pitches will be like. It is certain that Australia will hit India hard and it will not be easy to drive the ball.