If you are a 5 year old Indian boy, you dream about being a cricketer. If you are a 16 year old cricketer playing for the State side, you dream about making it to the elite National squad. If you are a 23 year old bright prospect of the Indian National Team, you dream about being the Captain! It’s a simple mantra, this.
In the past decade, India has been blessed with a couple of blessed captains who truly turned out to be the true talisman for their nation. Saurav Ganguly became the First man of Indian cricket when things were pretty dismal, as the entire nation was still reeling under the shocks of match fixing. Unfazed and unperturbed, he built a team of his own, which had a brilliant mix of youth and experience. Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan formed the core of the team. Saurav injected a lot of steel in this team and they went on to achieve many outstanding feats, the most prominent of them being wiping off the tag of ‘Bad Travelers’. Next came Mahinder Singh Dhoni. He carried on the good work done by his predecessor and under him, India have more or less won every piece of silver which the ICC has to offer! Now, as India move on towards a new era, the burning question is who will take Indian cricket to unfathomable heights? Will it be the swashbuckling Virat Kohli or the cool and composed Rohit Sharma?
Well, the BCCI seems pretty confident and assured about this matter. They have nominated Virat Kohli as the Vice Captain of the national team and in the Asia Cup this year, Kohli was the first choice to lead the team, in the absence of Dhoni. It is no doubt that Kohli is one of the most prolific batsmen in the modern era. He might very well be the next Sachin Temdulkar, but, can he be the next Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Frankly, I have my doubts!
Kohli’s records, thus far, as a captain has not been very impressive. Whether it is for India or the RCB, he has not achieved that many desirable results. The reasons behind this are not very clear. There is, no doubt, that he possesses a superior cricketing brain. He knows how to work his magic on the bowlers, how to find the gaps, how to turn on the heat as and when required! But, is he shrewd enough to be a tactical genius? Can he have a calming influence on his boys? Can he be a good man manager? Judging from his frequent outbreaks in the fields, these questions do not point to a very positive answer.
God was in a very good mood when he made Rohit Sharma. Everyone believes that he was the true successor of the likes of V.V.S Laxan, Mohd. Azzharuddin. But, he never did enough justice to his talent, untill IPL’13. He was made the captain of the Mumbai Indians team under some bizarre circumstances and that decision proved to be a game changer for him. Somehow, captaincy brought out the best in Rohit. He led from the front, piling on a heap of runs and the confidence was there for everyone to see. He was very calm, composed and did not let the pressure get the better of him. In extreme trying situations, he brought on his A-game and led from the front to ensure MI win their first IPL that season. In many ways, he reminds me of M.S. Dhoni and somehow he just seems to be a born leader.
So, to put it very simply, all though the BCCI feel that Kohli is the way to go, I have an inclination towards Rohit Sharma. For the sake of Indian cricket, I hope I am wrong!