The BCCI has made the right move in making Rohit Sharma the India white-ball captain across ODIs and T20Is. Rohit has been doing well for quite some time now and he was waiting to get his captaincy turn. I feel it is a good move.
Now, Virat Kohli can concentrate on Test cricket and Rohit can concentrate on white-ball cricket, in which he has done exceptionally well as a leader so far. He has won many titles for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and has also done well in whatever games he has been given as captain of the Indian team.
Virat has had a good run as captain of the Indian white-ball team and now the burden from his shoulders will be released 100 per cent. He is one of the best batsmen in the world at the moment. He is successful and there have also been some great performances under him. This will help him to concentrate more on Test cricket, which I feel is the ultimate form of cricket.
I feel there will be no issue of having two power centers in the Indian dressing room. These are professional players after all and they will get on with the job at hand. The same will be the case for the youngsters, they will look to get their chance and grab it.
As we see in England, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan are both doing well as Test and white-ball captains. So split captaincy can work for both Virat and Rohit as well. They will not be overburdened. It will ease the pressure on them as they won’t be under the spotlight all the time. They can concentrate on their game better in other formats too.
The most important thing now is that the national selection committee has to groom someone who will take over the captaincy in the future. This is applicable not only to the captaincy but to players as well. Developing back-up players is key because they keep everyone playing in the team on their toes.
The selectors’ job is to groom players, and to create sufficient options and bench strength so that whenever great players retire, there should be no void in the team. The situation starts getting out of hand once there is a void. Look at the West Indies. They ruled world cricket for 15 years and then went from No. 1 to the bottom-ranked team at one stage [they are No. 8 currently].
In my tenure as the selection committee chairman, we made Anil Kumble the captain and at the same time, we groomed MS Dhoni and others. I also groomed Ishant Sharma and took him to England, knowing that he won’t play there. But I knew he could prove to be more than handy in Australia later.
Grooming will be key for this selection committee also. You can’t just throw players into the deep sea and expect them to swim. I don’t believe in such a thing.
(As told to Devendra Pandey)