Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has put forward his thoughts on Indian test leadership change following Virat Kohli’s abrupt call to strip off his test captaincy on Saturday. Gavaskar reckons young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant should be named Virat’s successor in the traditional format.
India’s most successful test captain, Virat Kohli stunned the world by quitting his test captaincy in succession with his white ball captaincy. A day after India’s Test series loss against South Africa, Virat made his captaincy decision public and thanked the BCCI for letting him lead the team for seven years.
Gavaskar preferred the likes of young Rishabh Pant ahead of Rohit Sharma’s experience to lead India in future. He cited the added captaincy pressure will groom Pant as a better player and overall the sense of responsibility will bring out the best from him.
The legendary Indian batsman said that the selectors should first pick a player who is an automatic choice in all three formats of cricket in India. Half of the job for selectors would be completed if they succeeds to reach that point.
“If you ask me, I am still staying, I would look at Rishabh Pant as next India captain,” told Sunil Gavaskar to India today.
He cited the example of opener batsman Rohit Sharma who was loaded with responsibility at an early age at Mumbai Indians after Ricky Ponting stepped down from the franchise captaincy.
“Just like Rohit Sharma was given the captaincy of Mumbai Indians when Ricky Ponting stepped down, look at the change in his batting after that. Suddenly the responsibility of being captain made him convert those beautiful cameos of 30s, 40s and 50s into hundreds, 150s and 200s,” Gavaskar added.
Rishabh Pant was given the captaincy of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the IPL 2021 and the southpaw played every match with an onus to take his side over the winning rope. He successfully led the team, even though it was his maiden IPL as the captain of the side.
“I think that sense of responsibility given to Rishabh Pant will help him score many more of that wonderful hundred he scored at Newlands,” the former Indian cricketer said.
The renowned commentator further went on to give an example of former Indian skipper, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who took up the reins of team India at a very young age (21). He drove India out of adverse circumstances and his leadership paid dividends to the team.
“Yes, I am saying that. Tiger Pataudi was captain at the age of 21 under adverse circumstances when Nari Contractor was injured. Look what he did after that. He took to captaincy like a duck to water. I think what we have seen with Rishabh Pant as the captain of Delhi Capitals in the IPL, I do believe he has the capability of taking Indian cricket forward and making it a very exciting team to watch,” Gavaskar added.
As of now, nothing official has been released by the BCCI. The reports claimed that the Indian selectors will announce the new Indian skipper right before the start of the test series against Sri Lanka.
Rohit Sharma is currently leading the race, for several reasons. First, of which is, he is the vice-captain of the test team, so he becomes an obvious choice to lead the team after the skipper’s quit. Further, he is experienced and has started to enjoy test cricket.
KL Rahul is deemed behind Rohit in the race, however, these are just media reports. It will be interesting to watch what BCCI brings out from this.