Split Captaincy : An Uncultured Debate In India

Not often we had seen two different captains in Indian Cricket in the past but how the time is challenging, it can be a blessing in disguise.

Leading any side in all the formats of Cricket equally is always a hard job to cope up with, specially of late how the expectations have grown up by fans in the form of social media. You go outside and suddenly 50 people are running after you in the park or in the flight which could burn you from inside. “The role of captaining in India, it’s just another league altogether.” Explained Former Australian all-rounder & Cricket coach Tom Moddy to Harsha Bhogle during a Cricbuzz interview.

Past Instances of Split Captaincy:

Having so many heads behind a particular discussion can sometimes kill it and backfire you, mostly for those who aren’t familiar with it. Split Captaincy in Indian Cricket? One of the uncultured arguments to fly around the sport of the country. Yes, it had happened but for a little period and that too for some realistic reasons e.g.- Ms Dhoni was the captain of the T-20 and ODI squad while Anil Kumble was leading the test side and then when the former announced his test retirement, the baton passed to Virat Kohli, in 2014 who eventually received the full power couple of years later.

But the debate again welcomes new life; the moment Royal Challengers Bangalore, after a surprising begin in the 13th season of Indian Premier League, caught their same old route, stretching Kohli’s record to the worst point as a captain of the side for the last eight years. The record of Rohit Sharma, his deputy, after winning a record 5th IPL tittle with Mumbai Indians in 8yrs have brought it under microscope.

Does Split Captaincy Work in India:

Leadership is an essential aspect of the game and a captain is as good as his team. But the recent world and social media are too aggressive to get the Indian captain divided, at-least it seems like though. The most interesting thing is that you could argue for & against them with equal conviction. “Split captaincy doesn’t work in India.” Said Ms Dhoni after stepping down as the white-ball captain. And to be honest, you don’t need to be a scientist to realize the reason behind it; after all you have to receive commands in one format while being commander in another.

Yes, some successful teams had applied it in the past or are applying it in the present. But a closer look will provide you couple of stories of different pages. First of all, whether the player is fit in all the three formats of the game e.g.- England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan isn’t a part of the test team or Aussie red ball skipper Tim Paine last played an ODI in 2018 and hasn’t played a T-20 since 2017. A fit Rohit Sharma is always a regular contender in white-ball setup and his recent test form is cementing his place in the longer format too.

Legendary, World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev in an interview has raised question about the said subject. “In one company, (do) you make two CEOs? No.” He explained. “If you have two captains, players might think he is going to be my captain in tests. I will not annoy him.”

Besides all of these, Former Indian Cricketer and analyst Akash Chopra has gone for Kohli as a full time Indian cricket saying that there is not enough time for Rohit Sharma to form a new team before the 2020 World Cup in India. Also, he has stated, that the U-19 World cup winning captain has led India to the 2017 Champions Trophy Final and 2019 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final and so many Biteral series win, which is not a bad record have.

While these are positive news for Virat Kohli to hold his place as the Indian captain, Goutam Gambhir, speaking to ESPNCricinfo, has backed Rohit Sharma for India’s captain. “If Rohit doesn’t become India’s captain, it’s their loss not Rohit’s.”

Virat Kohli’s Record and Moments in Captaincy:

Kohli from 2017-2020 has 65.78% wining record for the men in Blue and has won T-20 series in SENA ( South Africa, England, New Zealand and  Australia ) countries. But, Rohit’s winning Asia Cup and Nidahas trophy is also telling a tale itself.

Honestly, if we want to research more and more, we can but you will never find anyone questioning Kohli’s test captaincy as the fruits have really filled the plate. “India’s fitness, change in culture and winning mentality is down to Virat Kohli.” Described Former English captain Nasser Hussain during an interview with Harsha Bhogle. Where most of the talking point about Kohli’s captaincy is about records, trophies; one of the successful coach Tom Moddy has brought the thought of maintaining the diamond for a longer period. “The only reason I would consider split captaincy for India is to preserve the longevity of Virat Kohli.”

But, could we change the topic or rather the word captaincy to coaching and asked how about split coaching“More than split captaincy, Split coaching could be the way to go.”– Hussain presented the opinion giving the example of England coach Trevor Bayliss, who did an excellent job in the white-ball setup but fail to crack the test theory. Although, Moddy has suggested that it usually depends on the personal. “JL (Justin Langer) wanted to mould the whole of Australian Cricket and not just in a particular format.”

Do You Want Two-Three Different Leaders:

None the less, the debate will be on and on untill India finds another captain who could fill everyone’s wish. And to be fair, the debate again is proving how important Ms Dhoni, the leader, was for team India. No one was able to question his ability to read the game and play according to it. Sometimes, your absence gifts the credit you deserve.

Just want to add another page of my own view to the story. India shouldn’t really require to omit Kohli as a leader because if Rohit get the (c) before his name, he could go for another 3-4yrs. So, the management can think of a young leader who has a long future and that guy could be monitored by the seniors besides him. Also, Kohli, the leader has taken his game to another level. Who knows, may be an demotion from the captaincy could hamper his own form which no Indian will expect for sure. 

So, the moral is always the same. Let’s stop the debate for now and keep the flowing in its normal way. 

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