Thu. Jul 9th, 2020

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Rohit Sharma readymade choice for captaincy if India start looking for different direction: Aakash Chopra

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Former India opener Aakash Chopra said India should have no problems persisting with Virat Kohli as captain for the next 12 months but the Asian giants may think of ‘change in leadership’ if they fail to win even 1 of the 2 upcoming T20 World Cups.

Aakash Chopra said Virat Kohli’s performances are unlikely to get affected regardless of whether he is captain or not and that Rohit Sharma is a readymade option for the team if it begins to start looking for a new direction.

Virat Kohli took over as captain in Test cricket as early as 2014 from MS Dhoni. While he has gone on to transform India’s Test team into a daunting unit backed by their world-class pace unit, India have not been able to win an ICC trophy since their Champions Trophy triumph in 2013.

Kohli, who took over from MS Dhoni as limited-overs captain in 2017, led India to the Champions Trophy final wherein they were beaten by Pakistan. India, under Kohli, were knocked out of the World Cup in 2019 after their semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Chopra, speaking to sports presenter Sawera Pasha during a YouTube interaction, said: Rohit is a very good captain. Whenever he has been the captain, be it for Mumbai Indians or for India in the absence of Virat Kohli, he has been very good.

“India is blessed. If India feels 6 months or 1 and half years down the line that we need a change of guard… I don’t think Kohli’s performance will get affected. He has reached that level wherein he won’t come down from there. His performances will be unaffected regardless of whether he is the captain or not.

“But as a team, sometimes you want a different direction. If you reach that stage, then Rohit Sharma is a readymade choice available. But till then, you need to persist with Kohli, he is improving as captain.

“If he has a good bowling attack, like the one he has in Tests, he is a fine captain who knows how to handle the bowlers well. But if he doesn’t have good bowlers, just like the case at RCB, then he is also not that aggressive.

“For the next 10-12 months I think it will be Kohli. But after that if you are looking for a change of guard… I wish India wins an ICC event soon because after 2013 we haven’t won anything.

“There is a T20 World Cup in India as well. Hopefully, India should win one of these 2. If they don’t win, then you may start thinking ‘let’s look for a change in leadership and find a different tone now’.”

While Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly had dismissed the idea of split captaincy, former India fast bowler Atul Wassan had said Kohli can be relieved of stress if he gives up captaincy.

Meanwhile, former England captain Nasser Hussain had said it’s impossible for an ‘imposing’ character like Kohli to give up captaincy.

“It depends on the character, Virat (Kohli) is such an imposing character, all encompassing, it would be difficult for him to hand over, he wouldn’t want to hand anything over.

Whereas with England, we have (Eoin) Morgan and (Joe) Root, two likeable, laidback (characters),” Hussain said during a podcast on Cricbuzz.

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