Former India opener Virender Sehwag reckons that skipper Rohit Sharma could be relieved from captaincy duties in the T20 format, which would allow him to manage his workload better.
Rohit has not been able to feature in all of India’s matches since taking over as captain due to injuries and workload management.
“If the Indian team management has someone else in mind as captain in the T20 format, then I think, Rohit (Sharma) could be relieved and the following can be taken into consideration going forward,” Sehwag told PTI in an interview.
“One, that would allow Rohit to manage his workload and mental fatigue, given his age.
“Two, once someone new is appointed as captain in T20s, it would also allow Rohit to take breaks and rejuvenate himself to lead India in both Tests and ODIs,” he said in an interaction arranged by Sony Sports, the official broadcaster of the India-England series.
However, Sehwag maintained that if the team management sticks with its current policy of having one captain to lead India across the three formats, then Rohit is still an ideal choice.
“If the Indian think-tank still wants to pursue with the same policy, which is, to let one man lead India in all the three formats, then I still believe, Rohit Sharma is the best man for it.”
Sehwag has raised a pertinent point about split captaincy in an era where a packed international schedule puts more focus than ever on injury management and mental fatigue.
The concept of split captaincy started back in 1997 when Australian selectors appointed Steve Waugh as the captain of the ODI side and Mark Taylor remained the head of the Test team.
Australia tasted considerable success using this route. England too adopted split captaincy when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) made Joe Root the Test captain while Eoin Morgan was entrusted with the responsibility of the ODI side.
However the Indian cricketing eco-system is slightly different from Australia or England, where multiple power centres across formats work more seamlessly than in the subcontinent.
India’s World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev had publicly said that split captaincy wouldn’t work in Indian cricket as it is not part of “our culture”.
India could have had split captaincy for an extended period when Rohit was made the white-ball captain last year. However, Kohli resigned from Test captaincy soon after, leading to Rohit’s elevation as the all-format skipper.
Combinations for T20 World Cup
While a lot of permutations and combinations have been at play ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, the former Indian swashbuckling opener named Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul as his top three choices among the batters for the tournament.
Star batter Virat Kohli is India’s designated number three batter at the moment.
“India has options aplenty when it comes to hard hitters in T20s. However, I would personally vouch for Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and KL Rahul as the top three batters for the World Cup in Australia,” Sehwag said.
“The right-hand and left-hand combination of Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan, or for that matter, Ishan and KL Rahul could be quite interesting for the World T20,” he added.
Sehwag, who was known for taking many a fearsome pacer to the cleaners in his heyday, was all praise for young pacer Umran Malik, and believes that the 22-year-old should feature in the World Cup alongside Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
“If there is one pacer who has thoroughly impressed me, of late, it is none other than Umran Malik. He should definitely be part of India’s plans as one of the key bowlers alongside the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami,” Sehwag said.
“This IPL has given us many promising young bowlers, but Umran’s skills and talent will definitely earn him a place in the Indian across all three formats in the long run,” he added.