Kohli steps down, who will be India’s next Test leader

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Modern-day run machine Virat Kohli shocked his fans by quitting his Test captaincy after the Freedom Trophy Test series. Kohli had previously stepped down as the skipper in T20Is after the World T20 in 2021 and was later sacked by the BCCI in ODIs as well.

With such major developments in a short span of time, the BCCI and the selection committee need to decide on who will carry the baton of leadership in Tests. So here we look at three probable men who will be the prime contenders for being India’s next red-ball captain.

Rishabh Pant

The 24-year old Delhi southpaw has been the X-factor for the Indian squad since his debut. From being a T20 sensation, Pant became India’s first choice wicket-taker in Test and has been crucial in multiple Test victories in the recent past. Well, Pant might be a surprise pick for being the next skipper in line, former cricketing legends like Sunil Gavaskar, Yuvraj Singh pin hopes on the young gun.

Pant has often been criticized for being inconsistent with the bat but the former has always proved them long. His recent hundred in Newlands is a bright instance in that context. He has led his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals in the last season. However, his inexperience in leading a team at the international level will not go in favor of him. Many cricket experts, even see him as India’s next Test vice-captain if Rohit Sharma succeeds Kohli.

KL Rahul

KL Rahul is one of the front-runners for the role of captaincy in Tests. The Karnataka opener is undoubtedly at the peak of his career across all formats. His caliber as a batter and composed mindset is a big plus for him. The 29-year old cricketer made a roaring comeback in England and since then produced several match-winning performances. But like Pant, KL Rahul does not have much experience of leading a side in international cricket.

Kl Rahul’s records as the PBKS skipper in IPL are not much impressive. But the classy cricketer has a great opportunity in the upcoming ODI series against Proteas. Rahul in the absence of Sharma will be the stand-in captain in the 3 match series. The selectors will find it very difficult to ignore him if India dominates the hosts in the limited-overs matches.

Rohit Sharma

The cricketing world is not unknown to the acumen of Rohit Sharma as a leader. The 5-time IPL winning skipper and an Asia Cup-winning captain, Sharma became the new captain of the Men In Blue last year. The series against South Africa would have been Sharma’s first assignment as the full-time ODI captain, but his hamstring injury ruled him out of the entire tour.

Sharma will definitely be the go-to man to succeed Virat in Tests. But his issues with fitness will be a big question for the selectors. The 34-year-old seasoned cricketer does not have much experience in Tests compared to his exploits in ODIs and T20Is. If he becomes the next Test leader, the choice will definitely not be a long-term plan considering his age and fitness.

The future of Indian cricket

All three players will definitely be frontrunners in the race to be the successor in Tests. A section of pundits also believes that the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin too will be in the contention of the job. For now, the fans will have to wait as only time will answer the burning question of Indian cricket. The new captain will be under pressure from Day 1.

The recent loss against the Proteas has come as heartbreak, but fans will expect the Indian camp to roar back in the upcoming home season. With the WTC campaign underway, fans will expect their side to achieve what they narrowly missed in the last edition. Captain Kohli will be thoroughly missed for his accomplishments in the longest format of the sport. His experience will be key for his successor to continue the nation’s rich legacy in the world of cricket.

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