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Recently, Virat Kohli, the current Indian skipper, made a statement that he did not intend to retire from either format of the game for at least the next 3 years. While this is an indication that we would definitely get to see him in action for the foreseeable future, it also indicates that the majority of the 31-year-old's career along with his reign as captain is done.
The Indian cricket team has been lucky to have leaders that have taken the game to greater heights with each passing generation; right from Kapil Dev's men having lifted to 1983 World Cup to Dhoni's team winning all major ICC trophies, to Virat Kohli who has broken records that nobody thought possible.
The Indian management and selectors would already be looking to groom their next captain. In an ideal scenario, the team would like for the player that would be chosen to have at least 6-7 playing years ahead of him at that stage. This is mainly done so that the new skipper will be able to build a team that has the best shot at winning the major tournaments.
With that being said, here is a look at candidates who could be the next captain of the Indian cricket team.
#1 KL Rahul
A specialist batsman when he first came in, India's newest wicket-keeper in T20Is may also be their next skipper. After falling out of favour due to controversies and lack of form, Rahul has come back with a bang and now is probably more valuable than he was when he first came in.
The elegant batsman has reinvented himself and also focused on honing different skills, as he is quickly becoming known as India's most versatile player. A player with the flexibility as well as the consistency of KL Rahul would tick a few boxes for the role of captain, but what he doesn't have is actual captaincy experience.
However, that seems set to change as the Kings XI Punjab recently appointed Rahul as their skipper for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. A lot of eyes would likely be on him, and if he comes good, he could well be one of the front runners for the role.
#2 Shreyas Iyer
The player, that India believe, is the solution to their #4 problem in limited-overs cricket, Shreyas Iyer is slowly but steadily cementing his place in the squad.
With good performances to his name in every series that he has played, Shreyas Iyer has impressed one and all with the bat. To add to that, he has also looked good while captaining his IPL side, the Delhi Capitals, who reached the play-off stages of last year's edition after 7 long years.
While he is still comparatively new, Iyer has done all the right things so far and has looked to be a player that is mature beyond his years. The 25-year-old from Mumbai averages nearly 50 in ODIs and is yet to make his debut in the Test squad. Given his performances, it is only a matter of time before he dons the whites for India.
If he continues on the path that he is on now, Shreyas Iyer has a solid shot at the captaincy badge when Virat Kohli decides to call it a day.
Also see – Indian Premier League 2020 schedule
#3 Shubman Gill
The 20-year-old might seem like a bit of a wildcard entry to include in this list, but given his skill set and aggressive batting style, he might be the ideal candidate to replace Virat Kohli.
Keep in mind that we're talking about a scenario that is likely to happen in about 3-5 years from now, and it may begin to make more sense. The youngster, who was a part of the Indian Under-19 team that won the 2018 World Cup, has been extremely impressive with the bat and has made scoring runs a habit in his domestic appearances for Punjab. He also has quite an impressive record in the IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
A real indication that he might be in consideration for the role came in 2019 when Gill was named the captain of the India C squad for the 2019-20 Deodhar Trophy. At 20 years and 57 days, he was the youngest captain in the tournament's history, with the record having previously been held by Virat Kohli himself.
While India C didn't go on to win the trophy, Gill has the majority of his playing years ahead of him and is only getting better from this point. As he goes on to play more formats for the Men in Blue, he may also go on to become a contender for captaincy.Published 09 Mar 2020, 11:16 IST