The world knows what a disaster it had been in the first test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia. India recorded their lowest ever test score in their cricketing history where they were bowled out for just 36 runs facing a tremendously disgraceful defeat. None of the players could put up a promising performance. Moreover, India lost its reliable pacer Mohammad Shami due to a fractured wrist. The media and fans took to the team as they were highly speculated and the most important of all, Virat Kohli’s captaincy was questioned. His fidelity towards the team had been questioned where he was supposed to return home due to family matters when his team was struggling against the wrath of the Australian lineup.
Just when all hope shattered and pundits predicting heavy defeat margins on India, in came the stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. Many expected that he would fumble due to the massive pressure he would face against the Australian team and fill the void left by Virat Kohli, India’s most reliable player across all formats.
Ajinkya Rahane made significant changes to the team as he replaced Prithvi Shaw with Shubhman Gill; Wriddhiman Saha with Rishabh Pant, Mohammad Shami with Mohammad Siraj and Virat Kohli who left was replaced by Ravindra Jadeja. All of them proved to be beneficial for the team. Debutante Shubhman Gill and Mohammad Siraj gave phenomenal performances as Shubhman Gill scored 80 runs across both the innings and Mohammad Siraj had figures of 5 for 77 the best for an overseas against Australia visiting their soil since Kapil Dev. All these decisions by the acting captain Ajinkya Rahane were crucial for the benefit of the team. Many applauded his professionalism on the field while he was appointed the task to manage his players, set the fields, and send in the right bowlers at the right time.
Defying many expectations and criticisms, Ajinkya Rahane was able to handle the pressure well and put the team in shape. He played a huge role in defining India’s first innings as his excellent and patient knock of 112 came off 223 deliveries with 12 boundaries. His 121 run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja proved to be a turning point in the match.
Ravindra Jadeja too accompanied his captain with a solid knock of 57 off 159 deliveries including just 3 boundaries. Many experts now think that Ajinkya Rahane should be the full-time captain for India in tests. If not implemented directly and immediately, many suggest that he should be tested for the upcoming series against England due to be held in India from February. Testing his skills on a full-time basis would give the team management an idea of his captaincy skills and can be a potential replacement for the long-serving test captain Virat Kohli who seems to lose his reliability according to pundits. Ajinkya Rahane on the other hand has a pretty impressive record as a test captain for India as he has a 100 percent record winning all three tests that he captained.
Another potential option for the post of a captain in tests for India is Rohit Sharma. Rohit who is back with the Indian squad after a long drawn injury since the Indian Premier League has been quite a successful captain in leading India and especially Mumbai Indians has been appointed as the vice-captain for the remaining two tests against Australia. His role as a captain in the longer format of the game is still under scrutiny and can be considered in the near future as many see him as a prospective captain.
Though speculations surround the potential of Virat Kohli as a test captain, stats say that he has been one of the most successful captains of India with all the responsibilities rightfully on his shoulders to manage this world-class team. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma can be alternative options during Virat’s absence, but keeping in mind the massive task of managing this team, it is the best idea for Virat to be the full-time captain. His leadership skills and aggressiveness on the field have brought numerous accolades home for India and fans and supporters hope that he continues to do so.