After winning the fourth Test against England at The Oval last week Indian captain Virat Kohli said in the post-match press conference that he was not worried about the criticism regarding his selection and tactics. Barely one week later, reports have emerged quoting sources that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not exactly happy with Kohli’s captaincy in the shorter formats and that he will make way for Rohit Sharma as white-ball skipper. Though BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal rubbished the reports, there is no denying the fact that Kohli is under huge pressure to clinch the forthcoming Twenty20 World Cup.
Kohli is firmly in the saddle as far as Test captaincy is considered for he has the results to back it up. He is the most successful Indian Test captain and led the country to a historic series win in Australia two years back. Under him India have started winning Test matches abroad on a consistent basis. Though Ajinkya Rahane led India to a famous series win Down Under earlier this year when Kohli took paternity leave after the first Test, the Mumbaikar’s patchy form with the bat means there is absolutely no threat to Kohli’s captaincy.
Rohit Sharma a proven leader
However, the same can’t be said of Kohli’s leadership in the shorter formats. His deputy Rohit Sharma has easily been India’s biggest match-winner in white-ball cricket for the past few years. In addition to that Rohit has hogged the limelight with his captaincy whether it be for Mumbai Indians or on the few occasions he has led India. Rohit is the most successful IPL captain with the five titles. Also he was at the helm when India won the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series and the Asia Cup in 2018.
Rohit has proved that he is ready for the challenge of leading India.
Mixed bag of results for Kohli
India last won an ICC title in 2013 when they triumphed in the Champions Trophy under M S Dhoni. Kohli, who took over the Test captaincy from Dhoni in December, 2014, has been leading India in all three formats from January, 2017. He took India to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy where they were outclassed by Pakistan. Two years later, India failed to get past the Kiwis in the semifinals of the ICC World Cup after topping the group stage. More recently, India went down to the Black Caps in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship.
Kohli is yet to win an IPL title with his side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The World T20 begins next month soon after the IPL and Dhoni has been roped in as Team India’s mentor for the mega event to be held in Oman and the UAE. The selectors have brought back R Ashwin to the T20 team after a gap of four years in the absence of the injured all-rounder Washington Sundar. Kohli’s RCB trump card Yuzvendra Chahal has been dropped and Mumbai Indians’ leggie Rahul Chahar has been picked in his place.
It goes without saying that the BCCI is losing patience with Kohli and another failure on the global stage could well end his reign in the shorter formats.