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Top three candidates to become long-term captain of Team India in T20Is

Top three candidates who can be long-term captain of Team India in T20Is. Who would be Team India's next full-time captain in T20Is?

Who will be Team India's next captain in T20Is? | Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Twitter_X)
Who will be Team India's next captain in T20Is? (Source: ©Twitter/X)

Rohit Sharma led Team India to their second T20 World Cup in 2024 and instantly announced his T20I retirement. After making his debut in this format during the 2007 T20 World Cup, he featured in 159 games in the shortest format. The 37-year-old finishes as the highest run-getter of the format with 4231 runs at a strike rate of nearly 141. 

Rohit’s first game as the T20I captain was against Sri Lanka in 2017. At the end of a disappointing T20 World Cup 2021, he was assigned the captaincy with full responsibility. In between those four years under the Nagpur-born, India lost only four fixtures in 19 encounters. 

Rohit ends with 50 victories in 62 games, at a winning percentage of 79. Among those who have led a team in 20 or more T20Is, his win-loss ratio of 4.18 stands at the second position. Only Afghanistan’s Asghar Afghan’s 4.2 win-loss ratio is better than him. 

Now, with his retirement, the selectors have a huge task of picking up the right person. The goal for them will be defending the title in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2026, at home. 

A look at the three players who could become India’s future T20I captain:

Hardik Pandya 

In this T20 World Cup 2024, Hardik Pandya was the vice-captain of the team. Even in the last two years, whenever Rohit decided to take a rest from this format, India played under his leadership. His first T20I as captain was in 2022 against Ireland, where he quite easily won the series by a 2-0 margin. 

Last time, when they toured the Caribbean for a five-match T20I series, Hardik showed his leadership skills. He has done a decent job in this role, remaining calm in crunch situations. In 16 T20Is under his captaincy, the two-time world champions have won 10 games, excluding one tied result.

Even in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, he led the Gujarat Titans to the title in his debut season as a leader. In the following year, he again carried them to the final, only to lose the trophy in a thrilling last-over finish. The recent IPL wasn’t a sweet one for him, leading the Mumbai Indians, as they ended with the wooden spoon. In 46 IPL games as captain, the Gujarat-born has 26 victories under his belt. 

‘Captaincy will be decided by the selectors and we will announce it after discussing with them.’ The BCCI secretary Jay Shah responded when asked if the all-rounder could be the future T20I captain.  ‘You asked about Hardik, there were a lot of questions over his form but we and the selectors showed faith in him and he proved himself.’

Hardik is yet to feature in a first-class game after 2018. So, the 30-year-old could be a regular member of T20Is. But given he is injury-prone; it will be interesting to see if the selection committee chooses him for the role. 

T20 World Cup 2024, IND vs PAK_ Rishabh Pant scored 41 odd 32 against Pakistan at New York _  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_X)
Rishabh Pant is also in contention of becoming India's captain in T20Is (Photo: ©BCCI/X)
Rishabh Pant

The young wicket-keeper batter, Rishabh Pant could be given the responsibility of captaining India. On any given day, he is a confirmed member of the national T20I side. Being a wicket-keeper, he will always have the advantage of making the right field placements. In understanding the angles of the ground, Pant will always have the best seat in the middle. 

The 26-year-old has captained the ‘Men in Blue’ in five T20Is. These games took place in June 2022, against South Africa, as the series ended with a 2-2 margin. The last game of the series was a washed-out affair in Bengaluru.

The most impressive part of Pant’s captaincy came during the recent IPL 2024. Delhi Capitals (DC) had just one win in their first five games and were on the verge of getting knocked out. But he backed his players and showed much belief in them. As a result, they went on to win six of their last nine clashes to keep them in the playoffs race. 

The left-handed batter doesn’t often get injured in the field too. India could look at this young player, keeping the future in mind.

Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah easily walks into any T20 team around the world, without a shade of doubt. In 70 T20 internationals, the pacer has collected 89 wickets at an economy of 6.27. It’s quite remarkable in this modern generation of the format where batters tend to smash every single ball. On his return from injury, he captained India in only two T20Is against Ireland, winning both of them.

Being the first pick of the team, he could easily be the leader of the pack. He won the ‘Player of the tournament’ award in this T20 World Cup 2024, for scalping 15 wickets. The crazy economy rate of 4.17 is superb even in ODI cricket in this era, let alone T20Is. 

The easiest option will be the 30-year-old to be the next T20I captain for India. The only major concern in denying him the leadership role could be managing his workload. Being an all-format player, he may not play in one or two series here and there. That’s where he loses the edge over the other two players. But still, Bumrah is an option for the captaincy role. 

For now, Shubman Gill will lead the young team in Zimbabwe for the five-match T20I series. But before the Sri Lanka series, the selectors could announce the full-time T20I captain. 


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