In an unexpected move, Virat Kohli recently stepped down as the Test captain of India, and with that, the country’s search for a new leader for the longest format of the game has started. It would be a great deal of responsibility for the chosen one because barring a few setbacks, India has been performing great in Tests and he would be expected to take the team to greater heights. Now, only time will tell who the next Test skipper is going to be, but the 4 players below are the strongest contenders.
1. Rohit Sharma
It’s tough to predict what is going on in the minds of BCCI heads, but Rohit Sharma possibly has the strongest chance of being Virat’s successor on paper. He is already leading the side in limited-overs and making him the Test skipper will help BCCI achieve homogeneity in leadership that it often stresses. What also works for Rohit is the fact that he has had an outstanding run in Tests last year. It was a great year for the side in the longest format of the game, and Rohi definitely had a huge role to play in it.
Under Kohli’s leadership, the side registered historic wins in Australia and England, and Rohit was sublime against the latter. He scored two centuries against England in two crucial matches, both of which we won. So, he stands at a pretty strong position.
2. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant would be an unconventional choice but it’s not heavily unlikely for him to be chosen. Unconventional only because he does not have the required experience to lead the national side so if BCCI goes with him, it would be based on instincts. And instinctive is not something this management has made itself known for. It could want to change that, though, if the stars are aligned for Pant. He is a worthy candidate too.
Rishabh was the star of India’s historic victory at Gabba last year, and to say that he is an asset for the team would be an understatement. In 2021, he also led Delhi Capitals to a remarkable season, and though IPL is immensely different from Tests, his record can’t be ruled out or looked over.
3. KL Rahul
If it’s not Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul will likely be the choice of the higher-ups to lead India’s Test side. He is working as a stand-in captain for Sharma in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa. He was also the vice-captain of the side for the Test series. Basically, whenever Rohit is absent, KL Rahul takes his place, and that’s the hierarchy the team has been working with for some time.
If the decision-makers think that Rohit Sharma already has a lot to take care of, they may give Test captaincy to KL Rahul, to see how things go. They could strike gold with KL. As a batsman and an opener, KL has made huge contributions to the side, and it’s possible that more responsibility will bring out the best in him.
KL recently spoke about leading the prospect of leading the side:
I had not given it a thought till the names came out, till the articles or news have been doing the rounds. Obviously, I had the opportunity to lead the Test side in Johannesburg and it was really special. The result did not go our way but it was a great learning experience for me and it would be something I will always be proud of. Leading the country is always special for anyone and I am no different. Yes, it would be a huge responsibility if given to me (being the Test captain). It is something that is exciting, I am not really looking to anything forward, I am just focusing on the present
4. Jasprit Bumrah
Words fall short when talking about Jasprit Bumrah’s excellence as a bowler. He has truly changed the game for India. Bumrah has raised the bar for bowlers across the world and at the moment, he is arguably the least playable pacer on the planet. His captaincy skills, those we will have to see. He may be really good at leading the side in Tests, or it might take away from his game, which is something that has happened with cricket legends in the past.
Jasprit, again, will be an unconventional choice – which could really pay off well. For now, he is acting as the vice-captain of the side in the ODI series against South Africa, which will see KL Rahul as incharge.
Bumrah also spoke about possible selection:
Ready to do it if given an opportunity, but that’s something I don’t chase. In any leadership group, I always look at the situation in the same manner, not to take any extra pressure that now I have to be overcautious. Taking responsibility, talking to a lot of players, trying to help them out in the best possible manner has always been my approach and it will be my approach going further.
The suspense will end very soon, and we hope that whoever it is, sees great success.