Rohit Sharma’s coronation as India’s all-format skipper completes with Test captaincy

What started as a circle from handling T20I captaincy responsibilities in November was completed on Saturday. As chief selector Chetan Sharma called out Rohit Sharma’s name as the Test captain for the series against Sri Lanka, the circle of Sharma’s coronation as the all-format captain of India, replacing Virat Kohli, was complete.

For Rohit, a regular in all formats, especially after his successful run as an opener in Test cricket began in 2019, the addition of leadership now makes him the ‘number one cricketer in the country’, if one goes by Chetan Sharma’s words in the virtual press conference.

“As far as Rohit Sharma is concerned, he is the number one cricketer of our country. The most important thing is that he is playing all three formats. For us, it becomes very important how we manage Rohit. Nowadays, cricketers are professionals, play all three formats and know how to manage their bodies well,” said Chetan Sharma.

He further threw light on what is the advantage of a player as senior as Rohit taking the leadership full-time across all formats. “There is absolutely no problem at all with Rohit and we will be in conversation with him from time to time. When we spoke to him, he’s absolutely okay. When such a big player with lots of experience becomes the captain, then as a selection committee, we can speak about grooming captains under Rohit Sharma, which will be a tremendous thing for us.”

With hamstring injuries ahead of crucial overseas tours, now a thing of the past, Rohit being fit and playing in the series against the West Indies bodes well for India. But managing his workload becomes all the more crucial too.

“As far as we know, with regards to the conversations we had, he is absolutely fine. He is absolutely fit and fine and ready to go. That is very good news for the selection committee too,” stated Chetan Sharma.

“Rohit is absolutely fine, there’s no problem at all. We will give rest to every cricketer because we have to handle the cricketers. We gave rest to Virat and Rishabh and will give rest to all cricketers slowly as everyone’s body demands rest. We will see how the things pan out and will let you know.”

The chief selector further stated that making Rohit the Test captain was a unanimous choice when the five selectors in the committee discussed within themselves. “No discussion. It was absolutely a clear choice for us and we are very happy to make Rohit the captain. Under him, we will also prepare our leadership. When a cricketer as huge as him is available for all formats, then the selectors are very happy. Let’s hope everything goes right and if things go the way we think, it will be very good.”

For now, Chetan Sharma hopes that Rohit, a five-time IPL winning-captain apart from winning the 2018 Asia Cup as a skipper, is fit and available to lead India across all formats in a busy period of next 15-18 months where a Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, a potential appearance in the second World Test Championship final and above all, Men’s 50-over Cricket World Cup in India are lined up.

“We will be extremely happy as long as Rohit is fit and available to lead. I can’t give time-bound to anyone as injuries can happen at any moment. So far, the selection committee knows that as long as Rohit is fit and available, he will be the Test captain unless he, the team management, medical staff, or selectors think he will be given rest whenever it has to happen.”

With Rohit’s coronation as the full-time captain, Chetan is also keeping an eye on the future when he expressed his willingness over skippers to be groomed under Rohit’s watch in the coming times for India.

“KL (Rahul) was made captain in South Africa. Before this, he was the vice-captain and Bumrah was then given the duty. In the series against the West Indies, we made Rishabh Pant vice-captain. As I said before, we are planning to keep some players in leadership positions. At the end of the day, it is about the selection committee on who they trust and move forward with. We are definitely hoping and thinking that the talk of grooming under Rohit will happen in front of us.”

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