Analysis | Rohit Sharma as white-ball captain an expected move

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma will be keen to end India's ICC trophy drought. File photo: AFP /Jewel Samad

The decision of the Indian selectors to make Rohit Sharma the white-ball skipper was hardly a surprise once Virat Kohli quit the T20I captaincy. Kohli's white-ball deputy was the logical choice as Team India captain in the shorter formats and it would not have made any sense to hand over the reins of just the T20I team to Rohit.

It is interesting to note that Kohli had never expressed his desire to relinquish the ODI captaincy. However, his inability to lead the Men in Blue to an ICC title plus India's shock exit in the group stage of the recent T20 World Cup meant Kohli's days as ODI captain were numbered. 

The writing was on the wall once Rahul Dravid took over as head coach from Ravi Shastri. Dravid has made it clear that winning the ICC tournaments is his main goal. India last won a major ICC event in 2013 when they triumphed in the Champions Trophy under M S Dhoni.

The Rohit-Dravid combination faces the challenge of guiding India to glory in next year's T20 World Cup Down Under and also regain the ICC World Cup at home in 2023. The fact that he was not in the team when India lifted the World Cup on home soil in 2011 has been one of Rohit's biggest regrets. 

Though the opener ended up as the highest run-getter in the last edition of the ICC World Cup in England in 2019, India bowed out in the semifinals to the Kiwis. Now Rohit gets a chance to set the record straight. 

Rohit Sharma
Rohit has an excellent record as captain. File photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe

At 34, Rohit has at least a couple of years to prove his worth as white-ball captain. He has won a record five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians besides guiding India to triumphs in the Nidahas Trophy tri-series and Asia Cup in 2018 when Kohli opted out. Rohit has been impressive with his tactics and calm demeanour, but full-time captaincy will be a different challenge altogether.

Rohit has also been elevated as Kohli's deputy in the longer version. The Mumbaikar has enjoyed great success as a Test opener ever since he was promoted up the order in 2019. Ajinkya Rahane's poor run of scores made it an easy choice for the selectors. 

It will be interesting to see how Kohli reacts to him being stripped of the ODI captaincy. In his first press conference as full-time T20I skipper Rohit had stated that Kohli's role  remained the same and that was to score runs. Sachin Tendulkar scored tons of runs after he gave up the leadership role. Indian fans will be hoping that Kohli responds in the same fashion.

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