From Rohit Sharma to Rishabh Pant: Top 5 contenders who can succeed Virat Kohli as India's Test captain

Written By: Aditya Sahay | Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 06:12 PM(IST)

After Virat Kohli resigned as India's Test captain, on January 15, here are the top 5 contenders who can become his successor:

Will it be Rohit Sharma?

Rohit is leading the race to become the next Test captain. While some can say that he is still not a daunting force in Tests, as opposed to his white-ball credentials, Hitman has stood tall since being promoted as an opener in late 2019. He was India's leading run-getter in 2021 and played a pivotal role to take the team to the inaugural WTC final.

Rohit is already the white-ball captain. While split-captaincy isn't a strict no-no, it still makes sense to have one captain across formats there an option is available. Regular injury concerns remain Hitman's biggest obstacle in becoming the all-format skipper.


How about Jasprit Bumrah?

Another interesting option is Jasprit Bumrah. The pacer, undoubtedly, is a wily customer. He was the vice-captain to KL Rahul in the recently-concluded India-SA ODIs and also during the second and penultimate Test, in Johannesburg, in Kohli's absence.

Bumrah is a force to reckon with and already part of the leadership group, spearheading the pace battery. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if the national selectors make the bold call. While bowlers can definitely make a good captain, Bumrah doesn't play home Tests regularly. Also, his workload will be tougher to manage if given the top post in whites.


Is Rishabh Pant too young for the role at present?

Pant is an exciting choice as Test captain. There are many who are against this idea as the wicketkeeper-batter is only 24 and in his fourth year as Test player. Nonetheless, the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina have backed him. He can be groomed as captain with the presence of several superstar cricketers in Kohli, Rohit, Bumrah, R Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, etc.

Pant has led the Delhi team, both state and IPL franchise, and has shown that while there is plenty for him to learn, he isn't shy of taking risks, backing his unorthodox ploys and leading superstar senior cricketers. 

In 28 Tests, Pant has shown remarkable improvement in all fronts and adapted to the demands of the red-ball format.


What about KL Rahul?

Rahul served as India's vice-captain in Tests during the South Africa series in Rohit's absence. He is already Rohit's deputy in white-ball formats and, hence, is a strong contender for the post.

Nonetheless, the 29-year-old needs to learn a lot in terms of captaincy. With India set to play majority of their games at home in the remaining second WTC cycle, will the selectors take a gamble in giving Rahul the Test captaincy?

Note: His place in the red-ball format was under scrutiny prior to the 2021 England Tests.


Will R Ashwin succeed Kohli?

It goes without saying that Ashwin is one of the smartest cricket minds in Indian cricket at present. The wily off-spinner is already India's third-most successful bowler in Tests (430 scalps) and is destined to add plenty more wickets in his tally. Though Ashwin has an outside chance, he can surely occupy the spot for a year or two before a youngster is ready to succeed him. 

However, Ashwin's place isn't certain when India play away from home. Moreover, frequent injury concerns continue to come in the way of the spin-bowling all-rounder. 


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