India spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi has advised Virat Kohli to step down as the India captain in Test cricket and hand over the reins to his deputy Ajinkya Rahane who has received widespread praise for his leadership during the tour of Australia. In the absence of Kohli and with his team depleted due to injuries, Rahane led a stunning comeback as India beat Australia 2-1 in a four-match series to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Also Read - India vs England 2021, 4th Test: Another Turning Pitch to Greet Teams Despite Controversy
Bedi argues that Kohli should give up the captaincy to concentrate on his batting as any potential failure in leadership could impact his individual performance. Kohli has led India in 56 Tests and boasts of a 58.92 percentage win record with 33 wins and 13 defeats so far. Also Read - ICC World Test Championship 2021: Here's What Virat Kohli-Led Team India Needs to do Qualify For Final
“I hope I’m not giving the impression of bending my back to build a case for Rahane to take over as Test captain,” Bedi wrote in his column for The Indian Express. “If anything my sincere aim is to prolong Virat Kohli’s batting career for the country. Shared responsibilities in cricket are different from corporate/political fields whence individuals are almost vying for cut-throat glory. In sports, especially cricket, captains can be seen swimming or sinking with the teams they lead.” Also Read - ICC Test Rankings: Rohit Sharma Attains Career-Best 8th Position in Batsmen's List; Ravichandran Ashwin Climbs to 3rd in Bowlers' Tally
Bedi further suggests that India can have three different captains across formats with Rahane leading in Tests while Kohli and Rohit sharing the responsibility in limited-overs cricket.
“Another ticklish thought pops up in my mind: Does India need Virat Kohli the great batsman or Virat Kohli a mediocre captain in the long run? Providence has provided us with an instant option. Rahane can lead in Tests while Kohli and Rohit Sharma can share the duties in white-ball cricket,” he said.
“Maybe Kohli can offer to make an honourable way for Rahane to take over during the series against England at home. I can assure no bad blood would be caused when we ensure that the larger picture on the canvas is Indian cricket,” he added.
Bedi, who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests, praised Rahane’s captaincy while drawing comparisons with the legendary India captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
“Personally, I am floored with the way Rahane conjured magic from broken bodies around him,” Bedi wrote. “The way he handled his meagre resources reminds me of Tiger Pataudi, who throughout his captaincy tenure was woefully short of a well-rounded unit but his leadership alone gave Indian cricket fresh legs. It was Pataudi who defined an “Indianness” in our cricket. He infused in us a thrilling sense of being together in this ride.
“The hallmark of any captain is his ability to handle the bowling resources. This is where yours truly has become an absolute “mureed” of Rahane. Three Tests is good enough time to assess a captain’s bowling changes and fielding placements. I tried hard but I couldn’t find a single Rahane move which could be questioned by armchair critics like me,” he added.