Ajinkya Rahane is the nominated vice-captain in the team but Pathan feels that Rohit Sharma's experience as a leader will help the side.
Virat Kohli has been given paternity leave after the birth of his first child and will fly back to India after the first Test. It is not certain who will lead the side in his absence for the remaining three Test matches.
Addressing the captaincy situation, Irfan Pathan told PTI:
“Nothing against Rahane but Rohit has to captain. He is a proven leader and has the required experience.”
Rohit Sharma has led India to victory in an Asia Cup campaign and has also guided his franchise Mumbai Indians to four IPL titles.
Irfan Pathan believes that Rohit Sharma's role will be crucial at the top of the order. The 36-year-old also expects Ajinkya Rahane to bat at number four in the absence of Virat Kohli.
“As an opener, he can play the same role that Sehwag did in the 2004 series and can win you games […] Playing abroad is always a tough challenge but when Rohit is in form conditions don’t matter […] Pujara’s role becomes even more important at number three as he will be the glue holding everyone together and see off the new ball. Rahane will be my number four in Kohli’s absence.”
Virat Kohli’s absence will have a huge impact but you have to respect his decision: Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan feels that skipper Virat Kohli’s absence in the final three Test matches will have a huge impact on the team's performances. He added that while it will be tough to replace him, it is important to respect the decision he has made. He said:
“On the field, it is bound to make a massive difference and it is very tough for anyone to fill his (Virat Kohli's) shoes. The way he has performed over the years and in all conditions […] But you have to respect his decision. We have to accept and appreciate life beyond cricket, the family is very important.”
The former left-arm pacer further stated that Australia has one of the best bowling attacks in the world and with Steve Smith and David Warner back in the side, they will be a very dangerous team.
However, he added that India also has a great bowling line-up and if the batsman can perform well, the series will be quite competitive.
“They have one of the best pact attacks and don’t forget Smith and Warner are back […] but we have got a great bowling line up and if our batsmen can do the job, it will be an interesting series.”
The tour will kickstart with ODIs, which will be followed by T20Is. The first Test will be a day-and-night encounter and will be played at Adelaide. This will be followed by three more at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Published 10 Nov 2020, 13:19 IST