Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan reckons that split captaincy with Virat Kohli stepping down as India’s T20 captain will not work for a long time and that Kohli should have held on to the captaincy a little longer. However, endorsing, Rohit Sharma as the next captain, Pathan told CNN News18 that he will make a ‘great’ T20 captain. Kohli on Thursday announced he will step down as India’s T20 skipper after the T20 World Cup in UAE but will continue to lead the side in ODIs and Test cricket, a decision that paves the way for Rohit Sharma to captain in the shortest format.
“I am not a big believer of that (split captaincy), especially with our culture. I think there should be one captain, one leader across all formats. Yes Australian team and the New Zealand team have done it but their culture is different, our culture is very different. I believe having one leader always helps," Pathan told CNN-News18.
The 36-year-old went on to add that even though the timing of the decision is a surprise, Kohli must have thought about it a lot.
“I was surprised with the timing of it, but as a player, there are times when your brain tells you, you contemplate something, you take opinions of your family, your friends, your coaches," said Pathan, adding, “Then you get into making a big decision like that. I am sure he must have thought about it a lot. I wish him all the luck. I really hope that the Indian team wins the World Cup under his leadership then he leaves a legacy in white-ball cricket."
“If he had held on to the white ball especially T20 cricket captaincy, he has so many opportunity as a leader to tell the world what kind of leader he is. I really thought he could have held on to it a bit longer".
Rohit Sharma is the likely candidate to take over the mantle from Kohli post World Cup and Pathan also reckons that the Mumbai Indians captain is ready lead the Indian team.
“Rohit Sharma is a master tactician, he is calm under pressure, that’s a sign of a great leader. Whenever he leads the Indian team, he will be a fantastic leader. He has a calmness about him, smartness about him. Look what he has done to the Mumbai Indians. They were struggling before Rohit Sharma became the captain," he added.
On Thursday, Kohli had announced that he will quit the T20I captaincy after the World Cup. “I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October," the 32-year-old Kohli, who is to compete in the IPL that resumes on Sunday, said in a statement posted on his Twitter page. “Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five to six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead Indian team in Test and ODI cricket," Kohli explained.
For some time, there has been speculation surrounding Kohli’s future as white-ball captain especially in the backdrop of Rohit’s brilliant track record of winning five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians. The 34-year-old Rohit is Kohli’s deputy in the white-ball formats and is most likely to take up the leadership role when India clashes with New Zealand in a home series in November that will feature three T20 Internationals along with two Test matches. BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, in a statement issued by the Board after Kohli’s announcement, said the body has been in discussion with Kohli for a while now.