NEW DELHI (Reuters): India should embrace split-captaincy and put Rohit Sharma in charge of their T20 squad, several former cricketers said after the opener led Mumbai Indians (MI) to a fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli leads India across formats, while Rohit usually deputises for him in limited-overs cricket.
Rohit topscored with a fluent 68 as MI crushed Delhi Capitals in the final to cement their position as the IPL’s most successful team.
Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who are yet to win an IPL title in 13 seasons, were eliminated in the playoffs in this season. Appointed as the full-time captain of RCB in 2013, the same year Sharma took over MI’s reigns, Kohli has managed to lead RCB in to the finals only once, when they were placed runners-up in 2016.
“If Rohit Sharma doesn’t become India captain, it’s their loss, not Rohit’s. Rohit has won five IPL titles, he is the most successful captain in the history of the tournament. It would be a shame if he is not made the white-ball captain after this. Because there’s nothing more Rohit Sharma can do,” former India opener Gautam Gambhir told the ESPNcricinfo website.
Gambhir, who the led Kolkata Knight Riders to IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, said Rohit was a significantly better captain than Kohli in these formats. “Why can’t you have split captaincy? It’s not a bad idea. I’m not suggesting Kohli is a terribly bad captain but both got the same platform and you can judge who’s better. For me, Rohit Sharma stands out as leader.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan felt delegating T20 captaincy to Rohit would help reduce Kohli’s workload.
“I honestly believe that the Indian team will be better off in Twenty20 cricket being led by Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli is superhuman. Giving away one aspect of his captaincy will free him up to be the 50-overs leader and the test match leader.” Vaughan told the Cricbuzz website, citing split-captaincy examples in England (Joe Root – Tests and Eoin Morgan – ODI/T20Is) and Australia (Tim Paine – Tests and Aaron Finch – ODI/T20Is)
Former India opener Virender Sehwag also described Rohit as “the best captain in the format” on Twitter.