The Indian team management is in a dilemma over the role of the stand-in Test captain. This choice is for the upcoming first Test against New Zealand at home. It is in the schedule that India will play New Zealand in three T20 Internationals and two Test matches. There’s a toss-up between senior players Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. Accordingly, the decision is going to be a tough one.
Regular Test skipper, Virat Kohli, is very likely to miss the first game. This is because he is currently on a short-term break. He will also be missing the 3-match T20I series. In these matches, the BCCI has already appointed Rohit as the captain and KL Rahul as his deputy.
The BCCI drew enough flak for the player’s schedule management in the aftermath of India’s T20 World Cup exit. After this, it is likely to rest some key players for the New Zealand Tests. According to a report from the Times of India, Virat Kohli will take rest for the first Test in Kanpur. He will only come back in the second match in Mumbai.
There is a dilemma for the selectors and the new head coach Rahul Dravid. It is about naming the Test captain in Kohli’s absence. According to the report, it is puzzling to the selectors as to who to name the stand-in skipper between Mumbai players Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma.
While Rahane is the vice-captain of the Test team, his place on the side is not certain. Rahane also led the team to a historic Test series in Australia earlier this year. This happened in Kohli’s absence. Along with that, he led the Mumbai team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. There they bowed out in the group fixture after losing to Karnataka and Chattisgarh.
Virat named Rohit the T20I skipper for the New Zealand series. He is being considered to replace Rahane as the vice-captain in Test cricket. This was according to some media reports.
There is no doubt that Rohit is cut out for this role. But seldom does it make sense to skip over the regular vice-captain and appoint a regular team member as the skipper. The increasingly likely scenario is that Rahane could well sit on the sidelines due to his indifferent form. With this, Rohit could take over. Some media sources leaked this news.
It is a temporary scenario. This is because Kohli is, without a doubt, the selectors’ choice for captaincy in Tests. Under his leadership, the team has scaled new heights in overseas matches. They defeated Australia by a 2-1 margin. They are also currently leading England by a similar scoreline.
Apart from Kohli, pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Shardul Thakur are also said to be rested for the two-match Test series.
The first Test between India and New Zealand starts on November 25 at the Greenpark Stadium in Kanpur.