Rohit Sharma-led India is set to lock horns with West Indies in the forthcoming two-match Test series, which commences on July 12. The series will kick off India’s campaign in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle.
After finishing second in the previous two cycles, India will be desperate to get hold of the coveted Test mace and for that, they require a great start in the Caribbean island.
Rohit has been serving as India’s full-time captain since early 2022. Under him, India reached the semi-finals of the 2022 T20 World Cup but were thrashed by eventual winners England by ten wickets. In the 2021-23 WTC cycle, India played the final where Australia beat them by 209 runs, last month, at The Oval, London. Thus, the 2023-25 cycle is vital for Rohit as India will require a good start under him. Moreover, the ODI World Cup is set to take place later this year, at home, and Rohit & Co. are one of the favourites.
Overall, a lot is riding on Rohit’s shoulders at present. After India’s WTC final defeat, many raised fingers on Rohit’s leadership, including former cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar. He was also trolled after India’s T20 World Cup and Asia Cup debacle last year. However, he has found the backing of former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.
‘It is unfair to criticse Rohit alone’
“I find that people are going a bit overboard… the way Rohit has been criticised. Cricket is a team sport and one individual cannot take you from one place to another,” Harbhajan told PTI ahead of India’s Test series versus West Indies. He further opined, “Team India didn’t do well in the WTC final, and yes, you talk about that performance and move on from there. But it is unfair to criticise Rohit alone, that he is not scoring runs, putting on weight, not captaining well. I think he is a brilliant leader.”
“I have played with him (Rohit) and watched him closely. He commands a lot of respect not only in the MI dressing room but also in the Indian dressing room. So I think it’s unfair to judge him on the basis of recent results. He will come good and we need to show faith in him and we need to support him rather than pinpointing that you are not doing this or that,” Bhajji asserted.
In the past, Indian captains have enjoyed relentless support from the BCCI and its most powerful administrator. For instance, Sourav Ganguly relied on Jagmohan Dalmiya’s support whereas MS Dhoni had a strong backing of N Srinivasan. In addition, Virat Kohli — Rohit’s predecessor — took several decisions which were supported by Vinod Rai, the former CAG and Committee of Administrators (CoA) head. Thus, Harbhajan — also known as the Turbanator — hopes that Rohit receives the same level of support from the BCCI.
In this regard, Bhajji added, “If you have the support from BCCI, you can work freely. Not just MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, if you go back a little further, a lot of captains have got support from BCCI presidents of that time.
“Rohit must be getting support from BCCI. I don’t know how much support he must be getting (though). Having that kind of support will help him take right kind of decision at the right time. He will get that liberty if he has that support. Support must be there for Rohit like BCCI has given it to all its captains.”
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