Amid Reports of Rohit Sharma Replacing Virat Kohli in ODIs & T20s, Should India Try Split Captaincy
17:17 GMT 13.09.2021 (Updated: 11:43 GMT 10.12.2022)
Split captaincy has been a subject of debate in Indian cricket. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wouldn't be venturing into uncharted territory if it appoints multiple captains for varying formats. In 2007, while Anil Kumble was made captain of Indian Test team, M.S. Dhoni was chosen as skipper of the ODI and the T20I squad.
Several media reports on Monday indicated that the Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was likely to lose his captaincy in limited-overs if he failed to lead his team to ICC T20 World Cup glory, when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman would host the tournament from 17 October to 14 November.
Even though the BCCI dismissed these reports as "rubbish", speculation is rife that vice-captain Rohit Sharma will be asked to take over Kohli's role in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 Internationals, if Team India's poor run, especially in ICC events, continues in the Middle East.
Cricket lovers across the country also joined in the hotly contested subject, with several of them supporting the move as they felt it would free Kohli's mind and the Delhi-born batsman would be able to concentrate on his batting, unlike now, when he has to marshal his troops on the ground.
But there were others, who argued in favour of Kohli's captaincy as they feared removing him from the post would take away the aggressive attitude which the 32-year-old cricketer has inculcated in the Indian squad over the years.
Kohli's bold and brash brand of cricket has been praised by even foreign players, including former England skipper Michael Vaughan, who believes his intimidating and bullying tactics have forced the opposition into submission on the field.
India's recent victories over the Three Lions at the Lord's and the Oval have been a proof of that much-talked-about attitude.
On the other hand, Rohit Sharma's admirers, including ex-Indian wicketkeeper and former chairman of selectors Kiran More have been insisting on having two captains for the ODIs and T2OIs and Test matches for a few months now.
"It [Split captaincy] can work in India. With Virat Kohli, captaining three teams isn't that easy plus he has to perform as well. And I give him the credit for it because performing in every format while captaining and winning... but, I think there will be a time when Virat Kohli will say 'Now it's enough, let Rohit lead the side'," More told Indian media in May.
However Indian cricketer Sanjiv Sharma didn't completely agree with More. While talking to Sputnik, he said that Kohli has been an "exceptional captain for India".
While he backed Kohli and his boys to do well in the T20 World Cup, he also said that the Indian team's performance in the tournament would probably decide his fate as India skipper.
"The World Cup is an extremely important tournament for any cricketer, particularly the captain, and any player under whose leadership, a team wins an ICC competition, is almost certain to retain his captaincy for at least the next 12-24 months."
But he also hinted at having Rohit in the equation, as he thinks that a player who has won the Indian Premier League (IPL) title four-five times, is good enough to lead the country in international cricket.
Rohit has led the Mumbai Indians to multiple trophies in the IPL with the franchise's fifth title coming last year.
"The Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper is a wonderful captain. Leading a team like MI is not easy and winning titles year after year wouldn't have been possible if he wasn't a great captain," he added.
"Having two captains for different formats could ease the stress on Kohli, who has to juggle between team meetings, press conferences, practice sessions while simultaneously focusing on his own batting, which at times becomes taxing," Sharma stated.