First publised on 2022-01-18 02:26:50
Team India will now have a recently-appointed head coach and team of support staff, a new captain and seniors and some other players who are not performing. This is going to be a transition phase that will be very interesting.
With Virat Kolhi giving up the Test captaincy, there are two strong contenders to take his place. Rohit Sharma, the white ball captain, would ideally be the first choice to lead the team across all formats. But he has fitness issues and might not be able to cope up with the workload. K L Rahul is the other contender to lead only in Tests. Former great Sunil Gavaskar has made an interesting intervention in the debate. He thinks that it will be good to elevate Rishabh Pant to the captaincy as responsibility might do wonders with his game. Others have pushed for Ashwin and Bumrah. But one thinks that the selectors might go for Rohit Sharma with Rahul as his deputy. They will not be inclined to take such a revolutionary step as to appoint Pant as captain.
The batting side too needs wholesale changes. At the top, Mayank Agarwal's place is in doubt. Prithvi Shah and Shubman Gill are knocking at the door. Then, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkye Rahane will definitely not get any more chances with Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari and Suryakumar Yadav breathing down their necks. Pant has cemented his place for now with his brilliant hundred at Capetown. The bowling allrounder for the time being would be Ravindra Jadeja and that would mean that for Tests in India, Shardul Thakur would be left out as both Ashwin and Jadeja would be played. India needs to get its team right and Rahul Dravid will have to convert it into a fighting unit.
Although India's bench strength is strong, the transition phase of any team throws up numerous challenges that have to be overcome. This will be a very interesting phase in Indian cricket.