Is Rohit Sharma the best captain that India would never have?
There are many instances in international cricket when a more astute captain is overlooked in favour of a lesser one. Sometimes, it’s because of cricketing reasons, and sometimes it is for reasons that have nothing to do with cricket, and sometimes it is just bad luck. An oft-cited example is Shane Warne getting overlooked despite being regarded as one of the best cricketing minds.
He is justifiably regarded by many experts as the best captain that Australia never had. Though both Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting led the Australian team admirably, that had a lot to do with the enviable talent that they had at their disposal. It is anybody’s guess what more Warne could have done with that world-beating team.
However, the cricketing world got a glimpse of the astute cricketing mind of Warne when he led a rather inexperienced Rajasthan Royals team to the title in the first ever Indian Premier League. Though IPL is franchise cricket, the quality of cricket in IPL has been no less than that in much of international cricket. So, Warne’s successful captaincy should get the accolades that it so richly deserves.
Similarly, many experts consider Rohit Sharma as the second best captaincy material in modern Indian cricket, after MS Dhoni. Though Virat Kohli has done well as a captain of the Indian team, his style is that of leading the team through his own inspirational efforts on the field. And almost all the time, that inspiration comes from his bat and sometimes, fielding than any outstanding tactical nuances.
To his credit, Kohli realizes his own weaknesses and must be credited for the fact that he leans on to both MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma on the field for tactical decisions on the field. Kohli is the more versatile batsman, but Rohit is certainly a better captain than him.
Being a great team man, Rohit has never publicly expressed his desire to lead India full time, knowing the implications of such a statement. But every opportunity he gets, whether as a stand-in captain for India or for Mumbai Indians in IPL, he ensures that his legend as an astute captain grows.
What better way to prove his captaincy credentials than to get the better of MS Dhoni three times in a row? He has already led Mumbai Indians to two victories over Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings this IPL. And the first qualifier presents a rare opportunity for him to do a hat-trick of wins over CSK! It is fair to say that a spot in the final is not the only thing at stake for Rohit Sharma in the first qualifier.
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