A BCCI official has stated as provided Rohit Sharma steps away from white-ball cricket after the World Cup 2023, India has its next captain ready and in line to take over.
When Rohit Sharma succeeded Virat Kohli to become India’s next captain, he had two targets in mind – the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia and the 50-over World Cup at home in 2023. But a year later all Rohit has to show for his results are wins in bilateral series. The two big ICC tournaments India had lined up to win 2022 ended in bitter disappointments. India failed to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup and got knocked out of the World Cup with a one-sided defeat to England in the semi-final. Muddled team selections, injury to top players, lack of intent and approach can be used as reasons behind India’s underwhelming show but the fact remains that the trophy cabinet is yet to add an ICC silverware since 2013.
But all that is in the past. This is a fresh year, a fresh start. Rohit can banish the demons of 2022 with a World Cup win later this year. However, what transpires after is the puzzle. Rohit will be 36 by the time the World Cup will end, and it is likely that he steps away from limited-overs to pass the baton to the next generation. And once he does, it only a matter of time before the next India captain is identified. Or has that happened already? Well, with Hardik Pandya already taking command of the T20I team, he is the obvious choice to replace Rohit as India’s white-ball captain, and if a certain BCCI source is to be believe, the wheels are already in motion.
“Right now, Rohit is the man to lead India in the World Cup this year but we must plan about what next. Just can’t wait for things to happen and then react. Just in case Rohit decides to let go of the ODI format or captaincy post the 2023 World Cup, we need to have a plan in place,” a senior board official told News18.
Hardik has had an excellent start to his captaincy career. After leading Gujarat Titans to IPL glory last year in his first-ever assignment as captain of a top-flight team, Hardik led India to series wins in Ireland, New Zealand and now against Sri Lanka. In fact, under his captaincy, India have lost just twice and with a younger batch of players coming up, the all-rounder appears the best choice to lead usher the team into its next era while Rohit can play out the remaining years of his career focussing on Tests.
“Hardik is doing well as captain. He is young and will only get better. For now, there is no better option than him to be looked at post Rohit. He must be backed and given a long and consistent rope,” added the official.