Former India coach Ravi Shastri believes Virat Kohli could have led the Indian Test team for another two years. Kohli decided to step down after the 1-2 series defeat in South Africa, and now won’t be captain in any format.
“I felt that he could easily continue for next two years, but now as he has stepped down, we should all respect his decision,” Shastri told The Indian Express on the sidelines of the Legends League Cricket in Oman.
Shastri decided not to continue as head coach of the Indian team after his tenure expired at the end of the T20 World Cup last year and was succeeded by Rahul Dravid.
Under the Shastri-Kohli regime, India won two Test series in Australia and also took a 2-1 lead in the series England, with the final Test to be played later this year. The former India all-rounder describes his seven-year tenure with the Indian team as satisfactory and predicts a bright future for the team.
When asked who should now lead the Indian team, especially in Test cricket, Shastri’s first choice is Rohit Sharma.
“First thing, the future of the team is very bright. From what I have seen in seven years, the new talent that is coming in is amazing. As far as the captain is concerned, Rohit is the captain in two formats. He was appointed vice-captain of the Test team that went to South Africa, but he couldn’t go due to injury. This means that he must be being thought of as the captain,” he said.
However, Shastri is not in favour of appointing a vice-captain of the Indian team and says there is no rule which states that a team has to have one. “Why make a vice captain? Whose place in the team is certain and is better on that day, make him the vice-captain. What is the use of making a vice-captain who has to be dropped from the playing 11?”.
Some analysts feel that Rishabh Pant should be appointed as vice-captain. “As far as Pant is concerned, he is an amazing player. He listens too. It’s not that he doesn’t listen. He has a lot of talent and will go on. He is a better alternative than having a designated vice-captain,” Shastri said.
Kohli’s lack of major silverware is often counted against him, but Shastri feels a captain shouldn’t be judged on World Cup wins alone.
“How many top players do we have who have never even touched the World Cup? Who is the captain who has won the World Cup? Only Kapil Dev and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in India. Should we not talk about any other captain? I can speak because I have grabbed the World Cup trophy. In our country, even if you won the World Cup and lost the Test series, people would still go after the team. We all have this habit. For seven years, it was our endeavour to win as much as we can,” he argued.
Shastri has taken a break after his tenure with the Indian team and is expecting to be back in the commentary box for India’s final Test in England in the summer.