Former India opener Gautam Gambhir suggested KL Rahul adopt an “aggressive” mindset while captaining in Test cricket. This opinion of Gambhir came after India lost the Johannesburg Test to South Africa under Rahul’s captaincy; the opener stood in as the Test skipper for the first time in his career as Virat Kohli was not fit.
KL Rahul’s maiden Test as captain resulted in a loss for Team India as South Africa, on the back of their skipper Dean Elgar’s 96*, chased down 240 with 7 wickets in hand to level the series.
India did have a chance to tear into the South African batting line-up when they were 96/2 and Temba Bavuma was new to the crease. However, as Gautam Gambhir pointed out, Rahul put men in the deep instead of catching position in the slips.
Speaking with Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir said, “The more time he spends, the better he will learn, but the faster he learns the better it is. This is not like ODI or T20I captaincy, which is far easier because you don’t have to focus much on-field placements.”
Since KL Rahul is earmarked by the selectors as a future captain, Gambhir reckons the opener should adopt a more “aggressive” nous, especially while leading the side in Test cricket.
“In Test cricket you need to buy the wickets, sometimes even gamble with your choices. Like in the case of Bavuma, had he placed three slips instead of keeping one at the cover and tempted him into playing the drive maybe there could have been an opportunity for caught behind. But he kept a deep point which was a defensive mindset and it is something that he should be told about. You need to be an aggressive captain, not by attitude, but with your field placements,” he explained.
Gambhir also believed that India dearly missed the services of Kohli, both as a captain on the field and in the batting department.
“We definitely missed Virat Kohli the batsman. Steve Smith, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Rohit Sharma, these are the type of batters you miss. And it is difficult to find their replacement, no matter what form they are in, because the expectation remains that they will score those big runs. But Kohli the captain, we missed him as well because he is so experienced and things turn simpler for experienced captains because they have been around for long,” the World Cup-winning batsman added.
With the series level at 1-1, both teams travel to Cape Town for the third Test starting Tuesday.