Mumbai, Febuary 20: Rohit Sharma who was appointed as India’s white-ball captain a couple of months back, has been named as the full-time captain in the red-ball format as well.
The 34-year-old’s appointment comes after Virat Kohli’s decision to step down from the position following India’s Test series loss to South Africa in January. India lost the three-match series against the Proteas 2-1, despite starting the series with a win.
The two-match home Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning on 1 March, is supposed to be Rohit’s first assignment as the full-time Test captain. He has become a vital member of the Test side since the last couple of years and has become a mainstay at the top of the order as well.
Even though India had other young options like KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant to consider for Test captaincy, the selectors have decided to go with the experience of Rohit as a stop-gap option.
Rohit also has the backing of Australia legend Ricky Ponting, who on the first episode of The ICC Review released on 31 January, endorsed him to become India’s Test captain.
“I was at Mumbai Indians when Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy there,” Ponting told The ICC Review. “I was bought in the auction to be their captain and unfortunately, I wasn’t playing well enough after the first few games to keep myself in the team, so I had to make room for another international player to come into the side.
“The owners and the team management wanted to know who I thought would be the appropriate person to take over the leadership at the Mumbai Indians. There were a few names thrown around between owners and the other coaches but it was really clear to me that there was only one guy that can lead the team – he was a young guy and his name happened to be Rohit Sharma.
“I think the proof is in the pudding with what he has done at the Mumbai Indians since that moment on. He has been a very successful leader there and has been when he has led India on a few occasions as well.
“If I go back to what I said at the start about being on top of your game when you take over a captaincy role, then it is pretty hard to argue after what he has done with his Test cricket in the last 2-3 years. He has played as well as anybody in the world through that period of time, and we know how good he is as a white-ball player.”
Rohit has amassed 3047 runs in 43 Test matches so far, at a pretty good average of 46.87. Almost 50 percent of these runs have come since he started opening the innings, that too at a much better average of 58.48. He already has eight centuries and 14 fifties to his name in Tests, and this tally is expected to increase further in the time ahead.