Veteran Team India batter Dinesh Karthik has issued a warning to current skipper Rohit Sharma, saying that if the national side failed to win the ODI World Cup later this year, he could very well lose his white-ball captaincy to Hardik Pandya.
Since India lost in the semifinal of the T20 World Cup in Australia last year, Rohit Sharma hasn’t played a 20-over match in India colors and Hardik Pandya has been leading the team in the shortest format of the game.
India has already played a three-game T20I series against Sri Lanka, winning it 2-1 under the leadership of Hardik Pandya, and is currently in the midst of a series against New Zealand, losing the first game against the Kiwis in Ranchi on Friday.
Moreover, with the ODI World Cup scheduled to be held in India in October and November, Team India’s focus is on the elite competition and that’s why they will be participating in a lesser number of T20Is compared to ODIs.
In this backdrop, Dinesh Karthik feels that while it will be premature to say that the national selectors were looking at split captaincy across formats, with Hardik Pandya preferred over Rohit Sharma to lead the side in T2OIs, he reckons that India’s performance in the ODI World Cup could end this debate.
As per Dinesh Karthik’s assessment, if India won their third ODI World Cup title at home in 2023, Rohit Sharma could see his tenure extended as the side’s all-format skipper. But if his boys failed to secure the ICC trophy, he may lose his leadership in white-ball cricket.
“If the case presents itself, why not? But right now, it is not right for me to say for two reasons. One, India are only playing three T20s after this until the 2023 World Cup, they face the West Indies after the IPL. Once that tournament is done, I think we will know exactly where things stand,” Dinesh Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
“If Rohit Sharma’s team doesn’t go on to do something special there, we could very well see a chance of split captaincy, I guess the opportunity will present itself at that point of time. Whereas if Rohit goes on to achieve something special, we will all like to think differently and give him a crack at the 2024 T20 World Cup if he himself is willing to play that,” he added.
“For the moment, I do believe that Hardik has done a phenomenal job. Case in point being the T20 that was played against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. That was a great game. Stopping Sri Lanka for 160 was a terrific effort on a day where there was little dew. He showed his captaincy prowess there,” Dinesh Karthik elaborated.
“He lives for the big games. After Virat Kohli if I have seen somebody who wants those big games, it is Hardik Pandya. You would have to put Bumrah in that list as well. As a batter Hardik Pandya loves those big occasion. That is why you would see in bilaterals he is not too fussed about whether he is batting consistently. As a bowler also, he is somebody who wants to fill in those holes wherever it is whether it be in the middle orders. We saw him bowling very well with the new ball as well. That is something he enjoys,” Dinesh Karthik pointed out.
Talking about Rohit Sharma the batter, the ‘Hitman’ recently brought an end to his long wait for an international century against New Zealand in the third and final ODI at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
Rohit Sharma’s 101-run innings off 85 deliveries was his first international hundred across formats after 509 days and his first in ODIs since January 2020.
The last time Rohit Sharma made a century in any format of international cricket was in September 2021 when he reached the three-figure mark in the Oval Test against England. Since then, he had gone 53 innings without a ton, making 1555 runs with 12 fifties.
Laced by nine fours and six sixes, Rohit Sharma raced through to the landmark at the Holkar Stadium, finally bringing an end to his three-year wait for a 50-over hundred.
En route to his ton against the Tom Lathan-led side, the India captain also equaled Australian legend Ricky Ponting’s record of 30 ODI hundreds in Indore.
With Rohit Sharma joining Ricky Ponting to become the third-highest century scorer in ODIs, only two men stand ahead of him – Sachin Tendulkar (49) and Virat Kohli (46).
Alongside Ricky Ponting, Rohit Sharma now is the joint third-highest century-scorer in One-Day Internationals.
Rohit Sharma’s sparkling hundred earned rave reviews from cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
“I like this Rohit Sharma, in this T20s as well. This is the way to play. 100s have to be incidental, they have to be the byproduct of the way which you play and when India sets a platform like that, despite a collapse, India had a lot of runs on the board. This is the Rohit Sharma I like,” Sanjay Manjrekar told Star Sports after the match.