Former Indian batsman and BCCI chairman of selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar has said that former and current selection committees have failed to shape a player who could take over as captain after Virat Kohli. After Kohli decided to step down as India’s test captain, the big question surrounding Indian cricket at the moment is who’s next, the veteran pointed out.
Vengsarkar said that certain names such as Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant had come up but none was certain. “Rohit is the vice-captain of the test team, but given his knack of picking up injuries, and the responsibility of leading in all three formats, the prospect of the 34-year-old taking up the role seems dicey,” he wrote in a newspaper.
Vengsarkar mentioned Rahul, who has captained Punjab Kings in the IPL and is set to lead the ODI team in South Africa in the absence of the injured Rohit. Echoing the sentiment of Sunil Gavaskar, however, Vengsarkar said that Rahul lacked the luck factor, which might not make him the obvious choice.
Keeping the future in mind, Pant is the ideal candidate, Vengsarkar said. “He led the Delhi Capitals to the IPL playoffs and has age on his side. But his inconsistency in tests might work against him,” the veteran cricketer pointed out.
Factoring the above, it is evident that for the time being, no name is certain to replace Kohli as captain in tests, the former India batsman and BCCI chairman of selectors said, weighing in on the topic.
“It has been caused over the years by the selectors’ lack of vision in grooming a captain for the future. Like we groomed Dhoni, they just haven’t identified the right man to replace Kohli as a captain. I just couldn’t understand why Shikhar Dhawan was named as the captain of India’s tour of Sri Lanka last year,” Vengsarkar said.
Giving an example of the time when he was in charge, Vengsarkar explained how the selection committee knew that with Rahul Dravid giving up, giving Anil Kumble the test captaincy was a stop-gap arrangement, in order to groom MS Dhoni.
Dhoni officially took charge in late 2008 and would go on to become one of India’s most successful test captains, leading the team to the pinnacle of the ICC Test rankings for the first time. That vision is something today’s committee lacked and hence the BCCI finds itself in this predicament, reckons Vengsarkar.
“We wanted to give some more time to Dhoni before he took the test captaincy. He was already the white-ball captain, and we wanted him to learn a few things by following Kumble closely. Kumble led India superbly in that period,” he recalled.