Indian captain Virat Kohli’s absence from the last three Test matches against upcoming Australian tour in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has made cricket fans in the country anxious. Kohli’s dominance and skilled captaincy that helped India register a historic 2-1 win in 2018-19 Test series against Australia on their home turf will be dearly missed.
“Well, well… this is huge news. Kohli to return after the 1st test in Australia to be there for the birth of his child. For the modern player, there is more to life than just his profession. But for the Indian team, the tour just got tougher," commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted as BCCI granted paternity leave to the Indian captain for his and Bollywood actress and wife Anushka Sharma’s first child.
Indeed the going will get tougher for the Indian squad but who will fill in the huge shoes of Kohli? In the absence of Kohli, one would have expected the vice-captain of the Test team Ajinkya Rahane to take the driver’s seat but Rohit Sharma’s name has been floating around for a few days now. Experts and critics of the game believe that Sharma would be the right contender and successor to steer the team.
However, former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg thinks otherwise. Responding to a fan tweet asking if Rahane would be right choice to wear captain’s hat, Hogg on Twitter wrote, “Rahane will do a fine job. The only other option would be Rohit but his record touring in Test Cricket provides no certainty of him holding a spot in the team. #Cricket #INDvAUS"
Rahane will do a fine job. The only other option would be Rohit but his record touring in Test Cricket provides no certainty of him holding a spot in the team. #Cricket #INDvAUS https://t.co/7sPXlw1PB5— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) November 16, 2020
Rohit Sharma’s fans were, for obvious reasons, unhappy with Hogg’s take.
Rohit is best captain— ⓢⓗⓘⓥⓐⓢⓐⓘ (@Shivasa34201150) November 16, 2020
No other batsman hit 5 tons in oversees…. And he is the best record against Australia only one batsman who hit double ton against Australia… 61above average 2000 + runs and 7 hundred and one double ton…. 8 halfs … I think he proved him self.. Before..— Saigurumurthy (@Saigurumurthy2) November 17, 2020
A Twitter user then quoted Hogg’s response with a not-so-subtle meme showing the Aussie shooing off Rohit Sharma fans.
To which Hogg wrote by saying, “clever".
Last year, in an exclusive chat with cricketnext, veteran Anil Kumble backed Sharma’s batting skills and cited the several injuries that have marred Indian cricketer’s Test career.
“When you asked me this prior to the series, I said until and unless you give him an opportunity, you won’t know. Now, he’s grabbed this opportunity with both hands. So, you have to give credit to Rohit. The way he’s batted, he’s matured since the time he made his Test debut," Kumble said after Sharma slammed centuries in both Test innings in Visakhapatnam against South Africa in 2019.
“Let’s not forget that his Test career so far has been interrupted with a lot of injuries, freak injuries and some injuries which have come at the wrong time. I remember when I was the coach, he did exceptionally well in the Test series and then against New Zealand, he picked up that injury on his thigh, and he was out for almost 5-6 months. That was big enough for Rohit to lose his place in the team, and when he eventually made his comeback, he was always in and out," Kumble noted.