Will the next Team India captain please stand up?
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's fortunes are in the doldrums after another series defeat away from home. The Indian team put up an embarrassing show in the last three Tests to be crushed 3-1 by hosts England. Vote: Yet another Test defeat abroad: is it time for MS Dhoni to be replaced as captain?
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's fortunes are in the doldrums after another series defeat away from home. The Indian team put up an embarrassing show in the last three Tests to be crushed 3-1 by hosts England.
Dhoni now has 14 defeats as a visiting captain - only two away from the embarrassing record of most Test losses jointly held by Brian Lara and Stephen Fleming.
As the clamour for Dhoni's sacking as Test captain grows, we take a look at possible replacements.
If a man is chosen to be the vice-captain of a team it often means he is being groomed as the next captain. If everything were to go according to the plans, Kohli should take over as the skipper across all formats once Dhoni stands down. Kohli's role as the fulcrum of the batting order means he is the man most suited for the role. Kohli has been for the past few years India's best batsman across all formats. The biggest challenge for Kohli will be to rein in his aggression. The other big problem is a sudden slump in his batting form which might put brakes on any captaincy plans for now.
Pujara is a left field pick for the role of captain of the Test side. Considered by many as the most valued asset of the Indian Test team for his calming presence at Number 3, Pujara is a strong contender. The biggest challenge for Pujara, apart from his recent struggles in England, will be the fact he doesn't feature in India's limited over sides. Indian selectors have never shown any inclination towards having split captaincy and this might work against Pujara.
Sharma has been the most inconsistent yet the most profusely talented batsmen of this generation. However, he has despite opportunities failed to nail down a spot in the Test side. But the added responsibility of captaincy has made Sharma raise his game in the IPL, so selectors might be interested in giving him a go. If Sharma is made the next captain of the Indian Test side, eyebrows will definitely be raised.
Ashwin is the most level headed, skilled and experienced bowler in the Indian team, and he can bring a different dimension as a bowling captain. Ashwin's biggest challenge will be to pick up his game away from home especially in unhelpful conditions and lead the inexperienced attack. But, Ashwin might be a strange pick for the mantle of captaincy considering he has just made it back into the Test side.