India captain Virat Kohli has announced he is stepping down from the captaincy of the T20 national team after the World Cup this year. He will continue as the Test and ODI captain of his country.
Kohli is now 32 years old and has been a captain of at least one of the three national teams since 2014. It may not be long before he decides to step down from his role as captain of the Test and ODI teams to concentrate on his own game. Here is a look at who could replace Kohli as the next leader of India on the field.
The obvious replacement to Kohli as captain of all three teams in the sport going forward is Rohit Sharma. He is the vice-captain, and promotion, at least with the T20 team, would ensure there is a smooth transition.
The Indian batsman is one of the most respected figures in the national team. He has been in excellent form recently so there is no question about his selection. More obviously, Sharma also has a lot of experience in the captaincy role, as he is currently the captain of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. They have had a lot of success with Sharma in the role and many in the online cricket betting industry are expecting the team to prevail again in the competition in 2021. At the age of 34, he would not be a long-term replacement, however, he could pick up the reins for now.
Another player who features in all three formats of the game for India is KL Rahul. He has stood in for Kohli at times when he has been out injured. Rahul has been one of India’s most consistent performers with the bat over the last few years. He will feature at the T20 World Cup, and it would be no surprise if the BCCI appointed him the captain of the team following that tournament.
The Punjab Kings captain could get some vital experience of leading his country with the T20 side. If things go well, he may then take over from Kohli with the Test and ODI teams when the current captain is ready to step down.
Since he made his debut for India in February 2017 in a T20 international against England, Rishabh Pant has been considered the future of Indian cricket. The wicket-keeper batsman looks sure to be a captain of the national team at some point later in his career.
Despite his age, Pant has already made 25 Test appearances for India. He has scored 1,549 runs and is averaging an impressive 39.71. One of the most impressive traits the man from Uttarakhand has shown is fearlessness. He takes on the big shots at crucial moments of matches and he is not afraid to take a risk.
The captaincy at this point could be too early for him so the BCCI may be patient and opt for a more experienced player to replace Kohli.
Given what he has achieved in all three formats, Kohli is going to be a tough act to follow. If he continues to produce his best form for the national team, he is sure to make the new captain’s job much easier.