Format specialist captain-coach duo for T20Is could bring in sharper vision & better execution. Some captain-coach duo that can go well together for India in T20Is.
Post India’s embarrassing exit from the ICC Men’s World Cup 2022, a lot of debate is going on about whether there is just too much load for one captain or coach to work in all three formats. With regular skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid taking a break from India’s ongoing tour of New Zealand, the talks have increased further on whether India should look for a new captain-coach duo for T20Is. For the record, Hardik Pandya is leading the team, while VVS Laxman is the interim coach for the New Zealand series.
So, should India follow a new style of leadership, especially for the shorter format?
The England cricket team is following this style of leadership with a good success rate. Matthew Mott is the coach and Jos Buttler is the captain of England’s white-ball team. The two combined to win the second World T20 crown recently for England. Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is coaching the Test team, with Ben Stokes as the leader. Since the two have come together as captain-coach, leading with an attacking and aggressive style of play, England’s Test fortunes have only gone north.
Format specialists could bring in sharper vision
There are a lot of advantages to having separate coach-captain pairs for different formats. First, a specialist captain and coach who are best-suited for T20Is in terms of their innovations, adaptability, mindset and style of play for this format can bring better results. No offence to the Rahul-Rohit combo, but the workload is just too much on them to plan and strategise for all three formats efficiently.
A specialist captain-coach for this format can have a better focus in terms of planning, decision-making and execution of strategies to meet the dynamic challenges of this version of the game.
Ashish Nehra & Gautam Gambhir best options for coach?
India have a few IPL stars or coaches who could easily jump into the leadership role for T20Is, while the Rohit-Rahul combo could focus on the longer format of the game.
Ashish Nehra, who coached Gujarat Titans (GT) to their maiden IPL title in the franchise’s debut season in 2022, could be a good choice for being appointed India’s T20I coach. Gautam Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two IPL titles, could be another option for the role of the coach as he has the tactical acumen, a no-nonsense approach, and a great cricketing mind to lead the Indian team in this format.
MS Dhoni’s name also is being discussed for this role, but his stint as the mentor of the Indian team for the 2021 World T20 didn’t end well as the men in blue were knocked out from the group stage itself in that edition of the world event. But in all likelihood and if reports emerging in this regard are to be believed, then Dhoni might land up in this new avatar as he has been India’s most successful limited overs skipper, winning all three major ICC titles.
In terms of the choice of skipper for T20Is, India must look ahead of Rohit Sharma as captain or even as a player if they wish to build a strong and aggressive team for this format for the next World T20 in 2024. Even seniors such as KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin could be phased out and the hunt should be on for the best alternatives. India do not have to look far away from IPL to look for talent who can follow the new brand of cricket that India would like to imbibe.
Hardik Pandya best suited for captain’s role
Hardik Pandya is currently the best man to lead India in T20Is as he has shown the acumen for captaincy after leading GT to victory in IPL 2022 in just his first stint as skipper. But other players, most particularly the flamboyant Suryakumar Yadav could also be groomed as vice-captain to lead in Pandya’s absence.
With just two years to go before the next World T20, it is the right time to build a new team under a new captain-coach duo who can shed India’s conservative approach to T20Is and kickstart a new brand of cricket that can rule the world in this format.
After being eliminated in the semi-final stage of T20 World Cup 2022, India won the three-match T20I series against New Zealand by a margin of 1-0 under Hardik Pandya. They will now play a three-match ODI series against New Zealand under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan.