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Team India Captaincy: Questions raised about captaincy in Team India after double defeat in Sydney

Nitin Naik, Mumbai
After losing two consecutive matches in the ODI series against Australia in Sydney, the debate of a separate captain in different formats has started once again.

Rohit Sharma has given a lot of success to the Mumbai Indians in the IPL as captain and the failure of the Indian team in the two ICC tournaments – 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and 2019 50 overs World Cup under the captaincy of Virat Kohli – has increased this debate.

But the big question is about timing. There are three World Cups to be held in the next three years. Two T20 World Cups and a 50-over World Cup in 2023. Now the question arises whether this is the right time to change the captain?

There are questions on Kohli’s captaincy in the ODI series in Australia. Especially in the second ODI – where he removed Jasprit Bumrah, who was bowling well, after just two overs and handed the ball to Navdeep Saini, from where Australia started attacking Indian bowling.

The way the Bumrah was handled, former ODI captain and left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir looked quite disappointed. Gambhir has already raised questions about Kohli’s captaincy. In the IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore team could not win a single title, Gambhir was very angry with Kohli. Regarding Bumrah, Gambhir said in ESPNcricinfo, “I don’t understand that if you have Jasprit Bumrah’s ability bowler and you give him just two overs in the beginning then it is not a strategic lapse but a strategic blunder.”

Gambhir further said, ‘I was hoping that Bumrah and Shami would throw a five-over spell in the beginning and take some wickets. I don’t think there will be any captain in the world who will give Jasprit Bumrah just two overs with the new ball.

Gambhir has earlier strongly advocated the handing over of limited overs captain Rohit Sharma. He even said that if Rohit is not handed the captaincy of India’s white ball team, it will be ‘India’s loss, not Rohit’.

It is true that Kohli has not been in his best form as a captain and batsman since the beginning of this year. After winning the ODI series 2–1 against Australia in January, Kohli won 5–0 in the T20 series in New Zealand (Rohit Sharma captained the fifth match). But after this, India lost 0–3 in ODIs and 0–2 in Tests.

Kohli’s personal form has also decreased according to his stature. Kohli has captained India in 8 matches this year in which he has scored 368 runs with the help of four half-centuries. This is significantly lower than their overall average of 59.29.

Although any other batsman would consider his batting average of 46 to be very good, but the greatness that Kohli has maintained for so long, his greatness is coming in the way.

His performance in the T20 International played this year has been worse. He has scored 161 runs in seven matches and his best score is 45. Kohli’s batting average during this period has been 32.20, which is much lower than his average of 50.80.

Former fast bowler Ashish Nehra, who worked closely with Kohli in the Bangalore team for two years, described Kohli as a ‘hasty’ decision-making captain.

Nehra said that Kohli is constantly making changes in bowling, besides he also said about Kohli’s batting that he seems to be in a hurry. Nehra said, in the first match, it seemed that Kohli was in a hurry. Kohli has achieved the target of 350 many times. It seemed that he was following the target of 375 not 475. ‘

Keeping in mind the matter of Gambhir and Nehra, we should consider that Kohli shines more in the additional responsibility of captaincy. At present, his captaincy in Test cricket is not a challenge but at the same time it should be kept in mind that in white ball cricket also Kohli has been a great captain.

Kohli’s figures testify to this fact. He has so far scored 11977 runs in 250 ODIs. He has a batting average of 59.29 and a strike rate of 93.92. The bulk of Kohli’s runs have been chased by the target. Kohli’s name has currently scored 43 centuries in ODIs. And if you talk as a captain, then these numbers get better. Kohli has captained India in 91 ODIs. In this, he has scored 5257 runs. His batting average is 74.04, strike rate of 98.87. During this time he has scored 21 centuries.

India has also won many good wins under Kohli’s captaincy. Kohli’s numbers in these winning matches are really surprising. He has scored 4085 runs in these 62 matches at an average of 90.77 and strike rate of 100.36. Kohli has scored 17 centuries in these wins.

Talking about T20 International, Kohli has scored 2794 runs in 82 matches at an average of 50.80. His strike rate is 138.24. Kohli has captained 37 T20 Internationals and 22 of them have been won by India. Kohli averages 55.64 and strike rate of 146.42 in these won matches.

Kohli is yet to captain India in the T20 World Cup. So those who want to weigh their captaincy on the basis of the ICC event will have to at least wait for them to fail before reaching a decision.

But the question is whether a player who has done well as a captain and batsman, thus breaking his spirits and giving the captaincy to someone else is right?

When Dhoni was in the final stages of his captaincy, everyone knew that the torch would now be handed over to Kohli. For this reason, this change happened very easily. Now that there are three big events to come, is it okay to change the captain now? Will this be fair with Kohli? Will it be right for Rohit? India has to play a few T20 Internationals before the T20 World Cup. Is it right to give Rohit so little time for handover? Kohli got two and a half years to prepare for the 2019 World Cup squad. And during this, Team India played fantastic and modern One Day International cricket. And if the plan to change the captaincy is really being worked out, wouldn’t it be right that Rohit too gets the right time to prepare the team according to his own.

There are many questions before the new selection committee. However, he can make his job easier if he does not make haste under the captaincy of the limited overs team. If there is to be any change, it should be taken only after the T20 World Cup next year. In this way, Rohit will get at least two years for any one event. The T20 World Cup is to be held in Australia in 2022 and the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.

The success of the IPL cannot be regarded as a measure of international success in any way. Would we still be arguing if the first two ODIs in Australia were played under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma and IPL Royal Challengers Bangalore would have won under Virat Kohli’s captaincy and not Rohit’s MI? Happen?

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