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After Virat Kohli, Is It Rohit Sharma? But Who In The Longer Run?

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Kolkata: It’s going to be the end of Virat Kohli as the Indian captain in T20Is after the ICCT20 in UAE and Oman. The flamboyant Kohli took us by surprise with his exit bomb on recently. Add to it, his declaration to give up captaincy in the Indian Premier League (IPL) too.

In all likelihood, his deputy in the Indian team for the white-ball format, Rohit Sharma will take over from his captain in T20Is. But let’s be clear that Sharma (34) probably has at most, three or four years of international cricket left in him provided he holds on to his fitness.

With so much of cricket hosted now, maintaining both form and agility is a big deal. Both Kohli (32) and Sharma would eventually have to make way for a younger one who would lead the team into the future across formats. Kohli will continue to be at the helm in Tests and ODIs for a while, but pragmatically speaking, it is imperative that the selectors, BCCI, Kohli and Sharma themselves zero in on somebody to nurture keeping an eye ahead. But who would that be?

KL Rahul (29): He has age by his side and has the experience of leading the Punjab Kings at the IPL. He has been in sublime form in the truncated versions of the game and has done decently in the Test series against England in England. The Karnataka guy has it in him to take over the mantle of captaincy at the international level but he needs to show more consistency with the bat and the leadership opportunities thrown at him. A frontrunner to replace both Kohli and Sharma, the level-headed batsman-keeper is up there on the priority list.

Rishabh Pant (23): The Delhi wicket-keeper is no pushover with the bat which he has proved over the years, but his problem is his temperament. The southpaw lacks consistency and has a ‘penchant’ for throwing away his wicket when his team needs him. But there is no denying he puts in his best and with his wicket-keeping skills showing signs of improvement, Pant who has been retained as the Delhi Capitals skipper, is a contender for the most coveted job in Indian cricket. But, Pant needs to show more restraint with his choice of shots and also exhibit a bit more maturity if he is to impress on the selectors to count on him as a captain.

Shreyas Iyer (26): Critics would frown, but had the Mumbai guy been fit and more consistent of late, he would have raced ahead of the rest. Shreyas no doubt has a sound temperament having led both Mumbai and the Delhi Capitals, but there are roadblocks. Iyer is not a certainty in the team having missed out on a place in the World Cup squad and he hasn’t been tested yet in red ball cricket. But, all’s not done yet. Iyer has opportunities aplenty to prove his mettle and a series of clinical performances can turn his fortunes. We are keeping an eye on him.

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