Indian pundits and players on Sunday hailed Rohit Sharma as the new all-format skipper after he replaced Virat Kohli in one of world cricket’s biggest jobs.
Rohit, 34, was appointed Test captain on Saturday ahead of the two-Test Sri Lanka series next month which will be preceded by three Twenty20 internationals beginning on Thursday.
The swashbuckling opener was a unanimous choice for the Test job after he took over the white-ball duties from Kohli, who gave up the T20 captaincy last year and then was sacked as 50-over skipper.
The Indian Express newspaper said: “A new era in Indian cricket has begun in earnest, with Rohit Sharma now captain in all three formats.”
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar praised Rohit’s leadership skills. “From the way he speaks, it seems like the players know their roles,” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.
“And they know what the team expects from them and what the captain expects from them.”
Rohit led the team to a 3-0 ODI sweep of West Indies and then his team took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three T20 matches with the third and final match later Sunday.
An outstanding limited-overs batsman, Rohit made his Test debut batting at number six in 2013.
He finally established his place as a Test opener in 2019 when he hit twin centuries against South Africa on his debut at the top of the order.
He has led Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians to record five Twenty20 titles and Kohli’s inability to win India a world crown paved the way for a leadership switch.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan gave his thumbs-up to India’s new Test captain and wrote “Good choice” on Twitter.
Veteran journalist Ayaz Memon tweeted, “Congratulations to #RohitSharma being made Test captain too. Frankly, can’t understand why BCCI was dithering after Kohli had quit the job.”
But given his age, the 34-year-old Rohit might still be a stop-gap leadership choice and Chetan Sharma, chairman of selectors, said future captains will be groomed under him.
In another move likely looking at the future, senior players Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha were dropped for the two Tests against Sri Lanka starting March 4.
Saha, a wicketkeeper-batsman, has hit back at Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, for not backing him enough.
The 37-year-old Saha claimed Ganguly promised to look after him following his 61 in a New Zealand Test last year, but fails to understand “why everything changed so fast”.