New Delhi: First things first. There is no imminent threat to Virat Kohli’s captaincy in any format. The BCCI is not even remotely thinking on those lines. However, that is what the BCCI theory says. There are many who now prefer a split captaincy, more so after the success of Ajinkya Rahane in Australia. What’s more some are even propagating this theory, though in hushed tones. However, as of now Virat Kohli has nothing to worry
Ajinkya Rahane’s calm demeanour in India’s biggest overseas series win has opened up a debate. But then for the Test vice-captain, there is little chance of a permanent anointment for him in the immediate future. However, there could be a paradigm shift in how the leadership group in the Indian cricket team works.
When Kohli left Australia, it was a team that were down in the dumps – dismissed for its lowest Test score of 36. But a lot has changed since that fateful afternoon in Adelaide.
Head coach Ravi Shastri is absolutely right in saying that this team bear Kohli’s ‘stamp and character’. However, from December 19 in Adelaide to January 19 in Brisbane things have changed. A few senior cricketers are already talking about those changes and Kohli will certainly feel that effect.
Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara and certainly Rahane, in their own little way, have created a legacy. However, post Brisbane, that legacy will need proper acknowledgement. These four will not ask for it as they have now earned it after quite literally putting their bodies on line.
So when Kohli enters that Indian dressing room, he will remain the ‘first’ but ‘among equals’ in a leadership group that possibly will be more inclusive.
A question had been put forth to Rahane as to how he would feel when Kohli returns after the match got over. Expectedly, his tight defence couldn’t be breached. “I don’t want to think about all these things. This is a victory that we all need to enjoy. I will think about England series once I am back in India,” Rahane dodged the question.
But in his heart, the Mumbaikar couldn’t have possibly forgotten that he, as a sitting vice-captain, was dropped from the Indian playing XI during the 2018 South Africa series.
Now, Rahane with 268 runs has emerged as India’s third highest run-scorer in the series. So he has cemented his own place in the annals of Indian cricket history. And however reticent or unexpressive he might be, his voice will now be heard if he wants it to be heard. That has changed certainly.
“His hundred at Melbourne put us back on track,” Shastri was the first to acknowledge his impact.