India is a cricket-obsessed nation; it is perhaps the dream of every individual who plays for the country to go ahead and lead the squad someday. While everyone might not be an MS Dhoni or a Sourav Ganguly in terms of creating impact as a leader, the urge or will to eventually be the leader of the squad is well deep-rooted in everyone’s minds and hearts. Of course, everyone doesn’t get to lead the squad just because of their will to lead. No, it doesn’t work that way in this country. When it comes to a country like India, where cricket is a religion, you are actually dealing with the emotions of 1.2 billion people, as almost every other person is obsessed with cricket. For India, their cricketing heroes are nothing less than God, whom they like to worship.
Of course, people have choices and preferences regarding who they like and who they would like to support. However, one thing is certain. The role of captain and vice-captain is immensely crucial. While the captain is the driving force of the team on any given regular day, the job of the vice-captain is of extreme relevance as well. On a day when the captain misses out on a game, the vice-captain is expected to bring forward all his knowledge and experience on the field to ensure the team does well and, most importantly, don’t miss the absence of their regular leader.
For the longest time, India had been pretty sorted regarding captaincy and vice-captaincy across all formats. India, as a team, has always had a smooth transition. From Ganguly to Dravid and eventually MS Dhoni, it was all smooth. Even the transitional phase from MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli went smoothly as Virat became the leader of all formats after MSD. Yes, the transition from Kohli to Rohit wasn’t a cakewalk because of the controversies associated with it. However, Rohit Sharma has tried to do his best across all formats to bring results for the team. However, one department where team India is struggling big time is vice-captaincy in Test cricket. For the longest time, KL Rahul was the deputy to Rohit Sharma. However, due to poor form, he was dropped from the squad, and naturally, India didn’t have a deputy to Rohit Sharma.
Well, from the outset, it might seem downright funny and hilarious that in a country like India where there’s so much of talent with players knocking the door of the International team every single day, team India is struggling for a vice-captain in Test cricket. As a cricket fan, don’t you think its strange that we have actually come to this zone in Test cricket where after Rohit Sharma, we genuinely have a long and consistent vice-captain option who can take over the reigns whenever required?
Some time back, Ajinkya Rahane was appointed as the vice-captain of the Test team. While there’s absolutely no doubt about Rahane’s credibility as a player, especially in the longer format of the game, it’s perhaps a little strange that he has been given the responsibility immediately after his comeback to the squad. The move appears to be extremely desperate and shows clearly that India are indeed struggling as a long-term vice-captain option who can make it to the squad on any given day regularly, based on his credibility and performance and not just because of the tag of ‘vice captain’. Even former Indian captain and former BCCI President Sourav Ganguly recently opined the same. During a conversation with, he was quoted as saying,
“I won’t say it’s a step backward. You have been out for 18 months, then you play a Test and you become a vice-captain. I don’t understand the thought process behind it. There is Ravindra Jadeja, who has been there for a long time and a certainty in Test matches, he is a candidate. But to just come back and straightway become vice-captain after 18 months, I don’t understand. My only thing is that the selection shouldn’t be hot and cold. There has to be continuity and consistency in selection.”
He further added,
“Selectors should have a clear idea about Pujara as well. Do they need him to play Test cricket anymore or do they want to continue with youngsters and communicate it to him? Somebody like Pujara can’t be dropped, then picked, dropped again and then picked. Same with Ajinkya Rahane also.”
Well, given the fact that Rohit Sharma himself isn’t getting any younger as he is pretty much slowly getting into the final stage of his International cricket career, it’s high time the selectors and the management focus on consistency and make the right choices for the team, especially in Test cricket. Because it is Test cricket that exposes you and your skills the most and henceforth, it cannot be a random gamble. It’s mandatory for the people who matter to have a proper vision about the future and actually get going with a bit of brainstorming to take the right decisions. Time to genuinely get ‘wise’ for the ‘vice’ captain call folks.