Although Rohit Sharma has only recently been handed India’s all-format captaincy, former head coach Ravi Shastri reckons the upcoming IPL seasons will give a good indication as to who will succeed Rohit.
The concerns regarding Sharma’s appointment as the new all-format skipper, taking over from Virat Kohli, were his age of 34 and his fitness struggles over the years. Shastri asserted that the selectors will have to quickly clear out their minds on the options of captaincy after Sharma, in, say, two or three years’ time.
“Rohit [Sharma]’s not getting any younger. Neither is Virat [Kohli]. They’ll have to look at who might be the captain two years, three years down the line. So that’s where I’ll be looking at,” Ravi Shastri told ESPNcricinfo.
Ravi Shastri picked out the likes of Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer as the likely alternatives to replace Rohit as India’s skipper going forward. The other left-field option that Shastri will keep an eye on in the IPL is Hardik Pandya, the way he leads and performs for Gujarat Titans.
“I’ll be looking at Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals). I’ll be looking at Shreyas Iyer (Kolkata Knight Riders). Very closely. Of course KL Rahul (Lucknow Super Giants), the way he handles that side. And Hardik for the simple reason if that can energise him in a manner that can make him come out and play with gay abandon,” he added.
KL Rahul is the designated vice-captain of India currently, and also led India in one Test and the ODI series in South Africa earlier in the year.
Speaking about Virat Kohli’s sudden resignation as the Test skipper, Shastri said that it was a “smart decision” by Kohli to relinquish his T20 captaincy, but felt that he should have continued as India’s Test captain, while also pointing out the immense workload Kohli had had as an all-format skipper and also leading RCB in the IPL.
“The expectations are huge, and especially as a captain when you’ve set standards like Virat Kohli has, then people expect you to win every game, and that’s never good enough. Even with the greatest of teams you’re going to have an off-season, there’s going to be a period where nothing fires. The pressure will build. So I think he’s done a smart decision of relinquishing captaincy. I would have still preferred him to stay in red-ball cricket, but that’s his personal choice,” the former coach opined.
Ravi Shastri, meanwhile, will be back in the Hindi commentary box for the IPL 2022.