Indian cricket had never seen seven different captains in a year before 2022. Apart from Sri Lanka in 2017, no other team has done that. Sri Lanka’s seven-captain year in 2017 was under vastly different circumstances. They were looking for their next leader and had no choice but to try different options as the team struggled to get the results they wanted. There were no such doubts for India. Rohit Sharma has been the captain of all formats since February this year. But the opener has barely led India in all formats. Of India’s seven ODI series since the change of guard from Virat Kohli to Rohit Sharma, the latter has played in just two. He missed four due to workload management and one in South Africa due to injury. Either KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan stepped in to lead India during Rohit’s absence.
It’s not like Rohit was the only player taking breaks to stay fit for the T20 World Cup. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja were also on BCCI’s workload management list. But shouldn’t Rohit have played more as captain? Did he have an option? Former Indian cricketer Hemang Badani thinks he didn’t, as it is “practically impossible” for someone to play in every series.
“With the World Cup coming up and with us still at a stage where we’re not clear on our side, we necessarily need to try out a lot more players. Yes, it helps a lot to have the same captain across all formats, but it is practically impossible for Rohit Sharma to play and support in every series. They will have to find the right balance, but it is not possible for Rohit to play every series, that is not going to happen. That will be the way forward. Many of us will feel why this should happen now. It never did in the past. But cricket has changed now. Every top player on every side takes a break here and there,” said Badani. Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat ahead of the Bangladesh ODIs, which will mark the return of Rohit, Kohli and Rahul.
Cricket has indeed changed a lot. An Indian cricketer can spend at most a month or two at home playing every series in every format. Badani therefore believes India should go for different teams for T20Is, ODIs and Tests.
“I’m all for creating a different team for all three formats. That’s where the world is going. The way T20 is played, ODIs are played and Test cricket is played is different. It’s still the same game , but a lot has changed. It’s like a 100 meter race, a 200 meter race and a 400 meter race. They all depend on running, but they are run differently. You have a completely different training, mindset and need preparation. I’m sure this will happen no matter how fast it happens. will have to wait and see, but it will happen,” said Badani, who played in 4 Tests and 40 ODIs.
When asked if the former left-hander, who recently destroyed reports of applications for the position of national voter, whether his pick for India captain will go through, he had no hesitation before mentioning Hardik Pandya. Hardik is ready. Whatever I hear from him, he seems like a born leader.’
‘Give Sanju Samson more chances’
Apart from the frequent breaks of top Indian cricketers, another major point of discussion leading up to the three-match series against Bangladesh is the absence of Shubman Gill and Sanju Samson from the Indian ODI team. While Gill has averaged 70 and a 102 strike rate in ODIs since the West Indies tour this year, Samson has also done well in the limited opportunities he has been given.
“There’s no need for everyone to be able to play every series. That doesn’t mean you get dropped or you’re not good enough. This is like a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. With what happened last month at the T20 World Cup. I want to be better prepared, so since we are playing at home, everyone expects us to win.
“The guys like Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant will have to be tried out. Someone like Sanju Samson in particular needs to get a decent run. You barely play him a game, then you say you need an extra bowler, you bring back Deepak Hooda Nothing against Hooda but in the bargain you always compromise a Sanju Samson When you look at him in the mix of things for next year’s world which I think you should then it’s only fair that you give him a decent run. You gave Shreyas Iyer a decent run. We are sure Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav will play the World Cup, now it’s more about finding the other player,” said Badani.
[Watch the LIVE coverage of Bangladesh vs India – 1st ODI on SONY SPORTS TEN 5 (English) SONY SPORTS TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY SPORTS TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on 4th December 2022 from 12:30 PM]