Rohit Sharma will captain India in both white-ball formats, the BCCI said on Wednesday, as it named the Test squad for this month’s South Africa tour.
Known as “The Hitman” because of his powerful hundreds and six-hitting, Sharma took over the T20I side in November after India’s dismal showing at the World Cup in Dubai and led a series sweep at home against New Zealand.
The 34-year-old replaced Virat Kohli, who stepped down as T20I skipper in September citing his “immense workload”. Kohli now no longer be the ODI skipper either.
The decision comes as a surprise to many because Kohli has been immense for India in ODIs – both as a batter and as skipper. As a batter, he has averaged 72.65 since taking over as captain and he had a winning percentage of 70.43 – a number bested only by Ricky Ponting (76.14) and Hansie Cronje (73.70).
But while his numbers are great, perhaps his inability to win an ICC Trophy counted against him. There are various theories about why he got the sack but there has been no official word from the BCCI.
The selectors have not explained their reasoning and for now, we don’t even know whether Kohli willingly stepped down or whether the BCCI thought Sharma could do even better.
Kohli's numbers in ODIs
|as not captain||2008-2016||159||6720||183||51.29||89.39||22||35|
Best batting average in ODIs as captain
|de Villiers, A B||103||98||23||4796||162*||13||27||63.95|
|Dhoni, M S||200||172||48||6641||139*||6||47||53.56|
|Williamson, K S*||78||76||6||3446||148||7||22||49.23|
|Mathews, A D*||106||93||22||3264||139*||1||22||45.97|
No other skipper in world cricket currently boasts of a record as good as that of Kohli, who also led India in three white-ball ICC tournaments.
In the 2017 Champions Trophy, India reached the final where they lost to Pakistan.
In the 2019 World Cup, India ran out of luck at the semi-final stage as New Zealand, who were underdogs for the match, beat them convincingly.
In the 2021 T20 World Cup, India failed to get out of the Super 12 stage. They started the tournament poorly with losses to Pakistan and New Zealand and that proved to be their downfall.
Most matches as ODI captain
|RT Ponting (AUS/ICC)||230||165||51||2||12||76.14|
|SP Fleming (NZ)||218||98||106||1||13||48.04|
|MS Dhoni (INDIA)||200||110||74||5||11||59.52|
|A Ranatunga (SL)||193||89||95||1||8||48.37|
|AR Border (AUS)||178||107||67||1||3||61.42|
|M Azharuddin (INDIA)||174||90||76||2||6||54.16|
|GC Smith (Afr/SA)||150||92||51||1||6||64.23|
|SC Ganguly (Asia/INDIA)||147||76||66||0||5||53.52|
|Imran Khan (PAK)||139||75||59||1||4||55.92|
|WJ Cronje (SA)||138||99||35||1||3||73.70|
|DPMD Jayawardene (Asia/SL)||129||71||49||1||8||59.09|
|BC Lara (WI)||125||59||59||0||7||50.00|
|EJG Morgan (ENG)||124||74||40||2||8||64.65|
|ST Jayasuriya (SL)||118||66||47||2||3||58.26|
|WTS Porterfield (IRE)||113||50||55||2||6||47.66|
|Wasim Akram (PAK)||109||66||41||2||0||61.46|
|AD Mathews (SL)||106||49||51||1||5||49.00|
|SR Waugh (AUS)||106||67||35||3||1||65.23|
|IVA Richards (WI)||105||67||36||0||2||65.04|
|AB de Villiers (SA)||103||59||39||1||4||60.10|
|SM Pollock (Afr/ICC/SA)||97||60||33||3||1||64.06|
|V Kohli (INDIA)||95||65||27||1||2||70.43|
A look at some of India’s most successful captains in ODIs reveals that Kohli’s winning percentage is way higher than others in the mix.
But the big difference is that Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni managed to win World Cups for India.
India's captains in ODIs
|N Kapil Dev||74||39||33||0||2||54.16|
There have been some iffy selections but that can’t be attributed to Kohli alone. If anything, the selection committees would have to take equal blame.
Kohli hasn’t had the greatest luck with the toss in recent times. In fact, in the 95 ODIs that he was the captain, he won the toss on 40 occasions. It usually doesn’t have a huge impact but when dew comes into the picture, it can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Either way, all of the above numbers show that Sharma has a tough act to follow. Kohli has set the bar high as batter and skipper and the only way to top it would be to win an ICC Trophy. The goal, whether Sharma likes it or not, has already been set.