The upcoming T20 World Cup could mark the end of Virat Kohli’s reign as the captain of India’s international white-ball cricket teams.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma is expected to take over from the incumbent leader, who reportedly wants to focus on his batting responsibilities in the near future.

Kohli (32), who currently leads the team across all formats and is India’s most successful captain ever, is learned to have taken the call to share leadership responsibilities with Sharma (34), reports the Times of India.

Kohli’s Lean Patch

Kohli has set his eyes on improving his returns with the bat, especially with the two World Cups – T20 (in 2022) and ODI (in 2023) lined up for the next couple of years.

The current skipper’s recent batting woes are not lost to anyone. His red-ball average has been below 30 this year, in complete contrast with the lofty standards that he has set for himself in the last decade or so.

After giving away some quality starts even in England, he has now gone more than 24 months without an international hundred.

In fact, for the first time in almost four years, Kohli is not his side’s top-rated Test batsman. He was usurped by his purported heir Rohit Sharma at number five, who was undoubtedly India’s best batsman during the tour to England.

Head-To-Head

There’s no denying Virat Kohli’s success as India’s white-ball captain, despite being unable to win a single ICC tournament since taking over from MS Dhoni full-time in 2017. He has led the team to 65 wins out of 95 ODIs, and 29 of 45 T20Is as the skipper.

Under Sharma’s captaincy on the other hand, India has an 80% win record in 10 ODIs and around 80% in 19 T20Is, as well.

 

A fairer comparison of their leadership capabilities though, can only be done through their Indian Premier League (IPL) records. Sharma’s Mumbai Indians have a success rate of almost 70% in comparison to Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore’s below 50%.

More importantly, Sharma has marshalled his troops to as many as five IPL titles, with the most recent one coming last year in the United Arab Emirates.

“If he [Rohit] had to ever take over as white-ball captain, that time is now. And it’s going to be a win-win for the Indian team because the two senior cricketers are so well in tune with each other,” BCCI sources revealed.

Global Split Captaincy Trend

The idea of permanent split captaincy first gained prominence with Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh sharing duties across different formats for Australia. The trend continued with Ricky Ponting taking over from Waugh in the subsequent years.

Team India also warmed up to such a system in the late 2000s, with Anil Kumble leading their red-ball side and MS Dhoni becoming the ODI and T20I skipper.

 

Currently, at least half-a-dozen top-tier international cricket teams prefer to split their captaincy across different formats.

It includes the likes of current 50-over World Champions England (Eoin Morgan and Joe Root) and the mighty Aussies (Aaron Finch and Tim Paine).

Image credits: Twitter/BCCI