Captaining a cricket team at the international level is accompanied by immense pressure, and especially, when it comes to leading the Indian team. With immense limelight on the Indian captain, at times it becomes very tough for the individual to continue doing his job for the team. The focus is always around the captain which indeed has its own pros and cons of being in the position that matters a lot in Indian cricket.
It is obvious that playing each game under such pressure with huge expectations from over a billion people, the job gets even tougher for an Indian skipper. At times, it may also affect individual performances. As a result, in the modern game, Virat Kohli holds such huge respect not only as a batsman but also as the captain of the Indian national team.
However, going forward, it would be natural for Kohli to relinquish either of the three formats in order to prolong his playing career. Considering his love for Test Cricket, Kohli might continue playing the red-ball game, giving up on the shorter formats. As a result, India might need a skipper who could replace Virat Kohli in the limited-over format.
Here's a look at 3 players who can replace Kohli in the limited-overs format as the next India skipper:
1. KL Rahul
KL Rahul is one of the finest limited-overs players the world has seen in recent times. His ability to hit the ball with such finesse, both in ODIs and T20Is, is a sight to behold. In the past few years, KL Rahul has learned to attain consistency in the shorter formats of the game. With minimum risk, Rahul keeps up with the demands of limited-overs cricket.
In IPL 2020, Rahul had an impressive season with Kings XI Punjab as the captain of the side. While his batting confidence did help his cause, it was his pleasing leadership skills that impressed a lot of experts in the second half of the tournament. With a solitary win in the first six matches, Punjab was languishing at the bottom of the Points Table before the Rahul-led Kings won five games on the trot to keep themselves alive for the playoffs spot.
At 28, Rahul still has a great cricket career waiting in the wings. It won't be surprising if Rahul is the future Indian captain, at least in the white-ball format. Even on India's tour of Australia 2020, Rahul is selected as the Indian vice-captain ahead of a few other senior players in the team.
2. Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer has made all the right noise in the last 12 months to gain a permanent spot in the Indian white-ball squad. Taking the indecisive No.4 spot after India's exit from the World Cup 2019, Iyer has done exceedingly well to earn that spot in the Indian middle-order. He has made consistent runs at an average nearing 50 in the 18 ODIs so far.
While Iyer has made a bright start to his playing career, he has earned great appreciation while leading Delhi Capitals at the IPL for more than two seasons now. He was handed over the captaincy reigns mid-way through the tournament in IPL 2018. In the last two IPL seasons, with much-balanced squads, Iyer has led Delhi to two consecutive playoffs spot. In IPL 2020, Delhi even reached the IPL finals, while the dream run lasted till Qualifier 2 in 2019. A cool, calm, and tactically smart skipper, Iyer is unsurprisingly seen as India’s future captain in the limited-overs format.
3. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the history of white-ball cricket. Not only as a player in the white-ball format, but Rohit has also proved his skills as a leader in the shorter formats of the game. With five IPL trophies in the last eight years, Sharma is the most successful captain in IPL history. The Mumbaikar has also proved his mettle as captain even for India at the big stage. He has led India to victory in two multi-nation tournaments: The Nidahas Trophy and Asia Cup, both in 2018.
In the near future, there's any more suitable option than Rohit Sharma to replace Kohli as the next Indian skipper in the limited-overs format. In the recent past, looking at Rohit's record as captain in the IPL, a lot of experts have gone on to rate Rohit as a better limited-overs captain than Kohli.
Unpopular Opinion on India's next white-ball skipper after Virat Kohli:
4. Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah could also be ranked as one of the contenders to replace Virat Kohli as the next India skipper in the shorter versions of the game. Bumrah, who has been a consistent member of the Indian Cricket setup, has grown by leaps and bounds. From being an eye-catchy figure on the field to being India's most valuable asset in the limited-overs format, the Gujarat pacer has come a long way in his brief playing career. Bumrah has always been admired for his great cricketing brain. He has always been talked about setting up the batters even in the white-ball format.
It might be an unpopular opinion, but Jasprit Bumrah possesses all the skills to replace Virat Kohli as the next India skipper in the limited-overs format.