Indian cricketing legend and former head coach of the team, Ravi Shastri, is of the opinion that Virat Kohli is the natural choice to lead the team in the absence of current captain Rohit Sharma.
”If it’s for a major game like that, I want Rohit to be fit, he is the captain. But god forbid something happens under unforeseen circumstances, definitely I’ll look in that direction,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo when asked if Kohli should lead the team at the WTC final if Rohit is unavailable.
Shastri said he would have recommended the talismanic batter’s name to the board for captaincy for the postponed fifth Test against England. ”Once Rohit was injured, I thought Virat would captain.
”If I was still there – I’m sure Rahul (Dravid) might have done the same thing, I have not spoken to him – I would’ve recommended to the board that it’s only fair he leads because he was captain of the team that was leading 2-1 in the series and probably could have got the best out of the team,” he said. Kohli was the India’s Test captain during the tour of England in 2021. Under his captaincy, India had taken a 2-1 lead before the final Test was postponed by a year due to COVID-19 outbreak in the visitors’ camp. By the time of the final Test, Kohli had stepped down from captaincy with Rohit taking over. However, when Rohit was ruled out of the fixture, India handed a captaincy debut to pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. Kohli, who has also given up Royal Challengers Bangalore’s captaincy, is currently leading the IPL side as regular skipper Faf du Plessis nurses a rib injury that has limited him to an ”Impact Player”. ”He’s in a very good space, enjoying his cricket. That’s the feeling I got as opposed to last year when we were sitting and discussing does he need a break, does he not need a break. He seemed to have the burden of the whole world on his shoulders,” Shastri said. ”Now it’s refreshing. The enthusiasm, passionate energy and enjoyment have come back, which for me was the best thing to see. Runs you might or might not get but when you see someone, and the passion, enjoyment and drive is back again, it’s good,” he added.
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