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Will Rohit Sharma's 3 wins over MS Dhoni in IPL 8 will put Virat Kohli under pressure?

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In India, we have a tradition of identifying the best face and picking it for leadership for the future. This practice, although looks good apparently, but can backfire if that face doesn't deliver on expected lines. In Indian cricket, we have seen this happening in the past.

Even the greatest cricketer produced by this country called Sachin Tendulkar couldn't meet the expectations despite getting two stints as the captain of the national side.


Rahul Dravid was another player, who couldn't make the bricks of his captaincy look as solid as his batsmanship.

A repetition is being seen in recent times when the selectors have chosen Virat Kohli as India's face in the post-MS Dhoni era. Age is on Kohli's side and so is his batting form. At this moment, he is the most prolific scorer for India and his intensity of scoring is even better than the great Tendulkar.

So, as per the Indian traditions, he is the obvious choice as India's next captain. The man has already started captaining India in Tests and his position has been cemented after Dhoni quit the longer form of the game last December.

In one-day internationals, however, Dhoni continues to lead but Kohli has got his chance to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in India's annual T20 carnival called the Indian Premier League.

Improvement in captaincy and a cool temper can see Rohit win race over Virat

But Kohli, in his short stint as the captain, has not got much of a success. He failed to take India to the finals of the Asia Cup last year, lost to Australia in their den from an advantageous position in a Test match and also have not succeeded to take the RCB into the final of the IPL so far.

Over and above that, Kohli has a problem of attitude. He is known for his temperament and has been seen getting involved in arguments with players and umpires. If there isn't a change in Kohli's behaviour after he takes up as a full-fledged captain, then India might have to think about an efficient vice-captain for Kohli could face bans affecting his presence in matches.

This raises another question: Why not back Rohit Sharma as India's captain instead of Kohli? For Kohli lovers, this will create a lot of irritation but for close observers of the game, Sharma has improved as a captain by far than Kohli. Both Kohli and Sharma led their respective teams, the RCB and Mumbai Indians (MI) against MS Dhoni's CSK a number of times in the just-concluded IPL.

But while the RCB have lost to the CSK in each of the three matches that they played, the MI defeated the CSK thrice in four matches. Particularly, the innings that Rohit Sharma played in the final after his team lost a quick wicket and put the seasoned CSK (who played their sixth final) at once proved the man's leadership edge. He wasn't overawed by Dhoni's heavyweight team.

And Rohit Sharma didn't do it for the first time either. In 2013, too, Sharma led the MI to win their maiden IPL title against the same CSK after taking over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting, who sat out after an ordinary run. This year, Sharma led the team back to the helm after losing four straight matches in the beginning, something that Imran Khan's Pakistan had done in the 1992 World Cup.

Rohit Sharma is accused of losing his focus at times but that 'fault' can be excused. He made a big entry in Test cricket by slamming 177 in his debut match against the West Indies in 2013. He is also the only player till date to hit two double hundreds (264 and 209) and now, he is one of the three captains to have won the IPL title twice.

So, Rohit Sharma is a talented batsman who has also grown in stature as a captain. Even greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting acknowledged that. The latter even felt that India should test Sharma in the leader's role, something which only gives the selectors more options and not stick to Kohli, irrespective of the cons.

Both Kohli and Sharma are batting pillars of the current Indian team and they are set to serve the national team for some time now. But if we add the captaincy factor, then Sharma looks to have gone ahead of Kohli with two IPL titles won against the most consistent side inside three years.

Story first published: Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 12:50 [IST]
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