After the retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian Cricket team is going through a captaincy conundrum. This year alone, BCCI has done experiments with Indian Cricket team Captaincy so many times that fans have started to lose count. Around seven different players have donned the hat of the Indian skipper.
Courtesy of individual brilliance here and there, the team has somehow saved its grace in the shorter formats. Apart from that, Rohit/ Shikhar Dhawan (in Rohit’s absence) seems to have provided some semblance as a Captain in the shorter format. But the situation for the Indian squad in Test matches is precarious and scary.
Indian Test team lacks stability, needs drastic change
The problems with the Indian cricket squad get aggravated in the Test Matches which are rightfully dubbed as the ultimate evaluation of any player’s temperament and skills. It is a cruel joke that in the ongoing India-Bangladesh Test series, non-performing or rather a liability on the team, KL Rahul is entrusted with the role of leadership. Under him, the capable Indian squad is struggling against a seemingly easier Test side – Bangladesh which aptly fits the saying that a team becomes as pathetic as its leader is.
With relentless quick dismissals, he has led the team down again and again. It is not an exaggeration to say that Rahul is leading a capable team towards the disaster. Had it not been the ‘last moment brilliant’ partnership of Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandra Ashwin, India could have faced a humiliating defeat. Apart from his batting performances, the overall performances and faulty selection choices have put KL Rahul, head coach Rahul Dravid and team management in the dock.
Further, giving Indian Cricket team captaincy role to KL Rahul has highlighted the inherent bias of the cricketing fraternity. It is an open secret that the game has a heavy tilt towards batmen. Moreso, by the time bowlers adapt to the changed batting friendly rules and start coming on top, the rules are drastically changed to neutralise bowlers’ efforts.
A dire need to have a reliable Test Skipper
Apart from a few exceptions, bowlers have been hardly handed over the Indian Cricket team captaincy role. Had this bias not played a factor then out of form batsmen KL Rahul wouldn’t have been preferred for the crucial role. It is unfortunate that this dire struggle and multiplicity of Indian Cricket team captaincy has started to have a toil on the performance of the team.
Earlier, under the calm guidance of Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian test squad proved the mettle. It showed that at the international level, every Indian 11 is worthy to defeat the supposedly strong team in their backyard. But ‘calibre wise’ a similar or even better squad has failed to even put up a fight against the timid Bangladesh team.
This is where the all-round abilities of Ravichandra Ashwin comes handy. It is an open secret that he is a secret smart cricketer who has shown grit as batman as well. On several occasions, he has taken the team home from scary situations. The recent calm performance against Bangladesh or the heroic performances during India’s famous triumph against Australia highlight that his all-round abilities have been mostly overlooked.
He is one of the best red-bowl bowler India currently have. Yes, his average reduces on SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australian) pitches but he has an average of 2 wickets per innings in those fast bowler friendly pitches as well. In 51 home games, Ashwin has taken 312 wickets at an average of 21. While in away games, he has taken 133 wickets in 36 matches at an average of 32.
He is an unplayable bowler in the home conditions. In away matches, his gritty batting performances has time and again proved handy for the team. It is important to note that Ashwin has scored as many centuries as England’s acclaimed all-rounder Andrew Flintoff did in his entire career.
In the current scenario, to avoid the extra workload on Rohit Sharma, there is hardly any better choice than the experienced campaigner Ravichandran Ashwin who can calmly take the Indian test squad from the current dismal state it has reached under the leadership of multiple captains. As of now, there is hardly any player in the test squad whose place in the longer format is secured. (Here we have not taken Kohli into consideration as he relinquished Indian Cricket team Captaincy earlier)
So, in these stormy times, the Indian test squad needs a calm campaigner who has steady the rocky boat. In the meantime, Ravichandran Ashwin can groom Rishabh Pant for future Indian Cricket team captaincy. No doubt, Rishabh Pant has failed miserably in the shorter format and failed to make a mark. His ODI and T20 performances have put his place in the dock. But in the longer format, he has been performing better than his counterparts and taking the fight back to the bowling squad. It is worth noting that Ashwin can play a similar role to that was once played by Former Skipper Anil Kumble for MS Dhoni in tests.
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