5 Captaincy Options for India After Rohit Sharma Retires from T20Is

5 Captaincy Options for India After Rohit Sharma Retires from T20Is
Image via T20 World Cup

The Indian cricket team and its fans celebrate exultantly, winning the much-anticipated T20 World Cup 2024. It would also go down as a historic moment as India ensured a second ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title under the astute leadership of Rohit Sharma.

Just after the final, in an unexpected end, Sharma declared it would be his final step from T20Is, bringing down the curtain on his sparkling captaincy career in the shortest format. Rohit’s departure comes with another big exit, as former skipper Virat Kohli announced his retirement from T20Is immediately after the final.

Rohit has stepped down as captain of T20Is after leading them in 62 matches. It marks the end of an era and inaugurates a whole new chapter for Indian cricket. This leadership change was on the cards after India’s exit from the 2022 T20 World Cup following a harrowing defeat against England in the semifinals.

This transition started with Rohit taking a break after which Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav led Team India in different T20I missions. With India preparing for the next T20 World Cup cycle, which kicks off with a series in Zimbabwe, several contenders are doing their best to claim to take charge of captaincy.

Here are five likely captaincy options for India in the shortest format:

T20I Captaincy Options for India

Hardik Pandya

The obvious choice to assume the mantle of T20I captain for India is Hardik Pandya. Given his T20 World Cup 2024 campaign vice-captaincy, Hardik contributed a great deal to their run to the title with both bat and ball. He has built up his credentials as a leader – from winning the 2022 IPL with the Gujarat Titans to leading them into another final the following season. He now leads the Mumbai Indians’ charge and has also led India in 16 T20Is between 2022 and 2023, receiving wins over both New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

What can work for Hardik is that it could prove to be a balancing act between the demands of captaincy and his role as a seam-bowling all-rounder. His recurring injury concerns often kept him out of action. Now, how he manages that with the additional responsibility remains to be seen. In addition, workload management will be required for Hardik as a key member of the ODI side to make sure he performs consistently across formats.

Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav is one of the top T20 batters in the world and was always going to be a contender for the captaincy. He did lead India in a five-match T20I series against Australia and South Africa, and how he came to the fore in tough situations only added to his leadership credentials. And, of course, that 56-ball hundred in the last game as captain against South Africa does stand for inspiration and brings bite to expectations under pressure.

Unlike other candidates, Suryakumar does not have the baggage of being a permanent stay in both the Test and ODI teams, which has allowed him to primarily focus on T20Is. His out-of-box batting and tactical acumen offered a different dimension to India’s T20I strategy. As India look to build a new core for T20Is, Suryakumar’s experience and form will be invaluable.

Jasprit Bumrah

Even though Jasprit Bumrah is India’s pace ace, his experience as a captain is very limited, though he has served as vice-captain and led in two T20Is against Ireland. Whereas he is considered an astute leader, his recent injuries will grow very cautious about his shouldering additional responsibilities such as captaincy. With his importance in all formats, more attention will be paid to the management of his fitness and form rather than burdening him with captaincy responsibilities.

Rishabh Pant

Inspiration has been the comeback of Rishabh Pant ever since the career-threatening car crash that he was involved in in December 2022. He has shown resilience as captain of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2024, and he happens to be the highest run-getter for the team. He captained India in a five-match series against South Africa in 2022.

However, Pant is yet to cement his place in India’s T20I playing eleven consistently. He is an exciting prospect with explosive batting and dynamic keeping, but his role in the team needs more stability before being considered for a captaincy role.

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill will captain India in the upcoming five-match T20I series in Zimbabwe; it will be his debut as captain at the international level. He would be an integral part of the top order for T20Is once Rohit and Kohli have retired.

Though he has never been a captain, his performances in ODIs and Tests truly bring him out as a potential future leader. Being a young and promising talent, how Gill develops as a captain will be keenly watched in the forthcoming series. How will India perform in the forthcoming series can boost Gill’s chances of being a the helm of captaincy options.

The Bottom Line

With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli now turning their backs on T20Is, the Indian team is getting into a new era and is looking forward to the creation of a new leadership core. Along with Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, and Shubman Gill, there is a mix of experience and youth and some tactical acumen. The forthcoming series in Zimbabwe will be the first step toward it, therefore setting the stage for India’s rise in T20I cricket.

Also, see:

All You Need to Know About Major League Cricket 2024 – Teams, Squads, Schedule, and Live-Streaming

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