Who Will Succeed Kohli? Candidates Galore, Even Bumrah Is Ready To Be Captain
Cape Town: Virat Kohli’s decision to step down from Team India’s Test captaincy has thrown up the question ‘who next’?
It’s a crucial decision for Indian cricket, but the national selectors may actually be spoilt for choices when they sit down to name the captain for India’s two-Test home series against Sri Lanka next month.
Besides seniormost candidate Rohit, the selectors will have an eye on KL Rahul and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. Even Jasprit Bumrah nurtures the ambition to lead Team India.
Bumrah, the team’s pace spearhead, was named Rahul’s deputy for the upcoming ODI series versus South Africa after Rohit was ruled out of the tour due to a hamstring injury.
On Monday, Bumrah made it clear that he’s ready to step into Kohli’s shoes.
“If given an opportunity, it will be an honour and I don’t see any player would say ‘no’ and I am no different. Be it any leadership group, I always look to contribute however I can, to the best of my abilities,” Bumrah said during a press conference ahead of the three-match ODI series which starts at Paarl on Wednesday.
“I look at this situation in the same manner… taking responsibility and talking to players and helping them out has always been my approach and it will always be my approach going further keeping any situation in mind,” added Bumrah, who has hardly any experience of captaincy.
Many feel Rohit is the obvious choice as he has the credentials and experience of leadership role. Also, he has already been named skipper for T20 Internationals and ODIs once Kohli stepped down from the role in shortest format after the World Cup and was removed in the 50-over format ahead of the tour of South Africa.
Rohit’s critics, however, are of the opinion that age is not on his side as he will be turning 35 in three months’ time.
In Rohit’s absence, it was Rahul who took up the captaincy in the recent Johannesburg Test as Kohli sat out due to a back spasm. So the stylish Karnataka batsman is expected to be next in the pecking order.
Legendary opener and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, though, has made a case for Pant. Gavaskar feels that entrusting the role of leadership will help the talented Pant mature as batsman and wicketkeeper.
The Chetan Sharma-led selection committee will have lots to ponder over before zeroeing in on Kohli’s successor.