Reports of a Rift in the Indian dressing room trembled the nation both in its timing and the weight it carried. News that there were two camps – Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – functioning in the Indian team and that there were plenty of unhappy faces in the Rohit faction burst through an already shaken fan-base, who were still trying to recover from a heart-breaking semi-final defeat in CWC 2019. Calls of handing over the limited-overs reins to Rohit soon started trending and with IANS quoting a BCCI official that the board were contemplating split captaincy, the speculations found more air. Rift in Indian Cricket Team With Players Divided in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma Camps, Claims Report; Is This the Reason Behind India’s Ouster From CWC 2019?
Kohli has led well in all formats of the game ever since taking up the baton from MS Dhoni and a narrow defeat in World Cup knockout game shouldn’t question his captaincy record. But it is the rift in the dressing room and growing questions over his team selection that had really given the rumour substance. Both Kohli and Rohit gel well and are believed to share a great camaraderie, which if true shouldn’t really hamper the Indian cricket team in case BCCI go ahead with the split captaincy. Rohit Sharma To Be Captain in ODIs and T20Is While Virat Kohli to Continue as Test Skipper? BCCI Considers Split Captaincy Post World Cup 2019.
But then there is MS Dhoni’s bold statement from 2017 immediately after he stepped down from ODI captaincy. "Split captaincy does not work in India. I don't believe in split captaincy. For the team, there has to be only one leader...Split captaincy doesn't work in India, I was waiting for the right time. I wanted Virat to ease into the job,” Dhoni was quoted as saying by Times Now. Dual captaincy for a single team but different formats is a path India seldom traded before.
“One team one captain” has been team India’s sole philosophy until Dhoni retired midway through a Test in the Australian summer and Kohli took charge. For that period till Dhoni also bid adieu to ODI captaincy in 2007, Indian team enjoyed playing under two different captains and were fairly successful.
It should be the same for Kohli and Rohit. Especially when the limited-overs reins are being handed over to someone, who tasted victory in eight of the 10 games he led India in and has four IPL titles to show.
Rohit’s records speak for themselves. Among Captains, who have led India in 10 or more ODI matches, Rohit has the best win/loss ratio. He has lost just two of the 10 games he captained including victories in Nidahas Trophy and 2018 Asia Cup. Virat Kohli is next best with 74.34% ratio in 77 games. Rohit’s 10 games will certainly be below the bar for drawing a comparison, but the right-handed opening batsman also has impressive IPL record in prospect.
Six titles in seven years of captaincy are more than any remarkable feat. Rohit led Mumbai Indians to its first-ever IPL trophy in 2013 and has since delivered three more titles in space of six years. Kohli, on the other, is yet to land any major trophy in limited-overs series both as an Indian captain and as a Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper.
In the 10 matches that he captained India in, Rohit has an average of 77.57 with 543 runs and the highest score of 208. Kohli isn’t far behind but has often looked burdened with the captaincy pressure taking a toll on him.
But for now split captaincy seems a bridge too far and nothing can be ascertained until the BCCI themselves announce it. But speculation remains when the Supreme Court-appointed CoA, meet for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 review of the Indian team, split captaincy might be the biggest outcome.