Ian Chappell believes Rohit Sharma is capable of handling the role of India’s Test vice-captaincy. In his latest column, the former Australian captain called the Indian opener “an acclaimed” leader.
Considering current Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s prolonged poor form, Ian Chappell implies that the middle-order batter could lose his spot in the strong Indian side. The Aussie legend believes Rahane’s No.5 spot could be taken by either Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja or Hardik Pandya.
Ian Chappell’s recommendations come in the light of his view that India must find a way to include their best spinner Ravichandran Ashwin into their XI. However, the 77-year-old reckons that India will miss Ajinkya Rahane’s tactical input and slip fielding to spinners.
“The only downside would be the loss of Ajinkya Rahane’s tactical input and his slip fielding to the spinners. Nevertheless, Rohit Sharma is now an acclaimed captain and he’s capable of handling the vice-captaincy role,” Ian Chappell wrote in his ESPNCricinfocolumn.
Ajinkya Rahane led Team India in three Tests in Australia in the absence of Virat Kohli after the team suffered its lowest point, getting bowled out for their record-low 36 all out at Adelaide. He exhibited tactical competency as he guided an injury-struck India to a historic 2-1 win.
However, Rohit Sharma is also a proven leader. Not only has he won a record five IPL titles, but has also led India to eight out of 10 wins in ODIs, including an Asia Cup title.
Rohit Sharma has also won 15 out of his 19 T20Is as a captain. In most of his international outings as captain, he led second-string sides.
Rohit Sharma’s phenomenal rise in Test cricket
A last-minute injury led to Rohit Sharma missing out on his Test debut against South Africa in 2010. He got his opportunity in 2013 and slammed consecutive tons in his first two Tests. Since then, he suffered a big slump in overseas conditions and could never cement his place in the middle-order.
In 2019, Rohit Sharma returned to Test cricket as an opener and immediately made a mark. He has been one of the finest batters in the longer format since his comeback as an opener. In the last two years, he has 1,462 runs from 16 Tests at an average of 58.48. The hallmark of his batting has been the adjustments he made to score runs in Australia and England.
He emerged as India’s best batsman on the tour of England, scoring 368 runs at an average of 52.57. The 127 in the Oval Test was his first overseas ton. He has replaced Virat Kohli as India’s best-ranked Test batsman and is currently ranked at no.5 in the format.
As Ian Chappell predicts, Rohit Sharma is likely to be named India’s Test vice-captain in the home series against New Zealand in November.