The heat rises in the southern hemisphere on December as per the laws of nature. However, its intensity gets extreme in the country of Australia. Because, the heat of cricket hits the ground at the same time across the landmass. This time along, the temperature is already high in the platform of social media. The fans of Indian cricket team have their choices divided between Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma at the question of handover of test captaincy between in absence of Virat Kohli.
The Australian summer is noted as the season of cricket down under. It hosts the chief domestic competitions of the country, such as – Sheffield Shield, or the Big Bash T20. Above all, the Australian team plays host to a touring international side during this time of the year. The festive night of Christmas precedes a shining morning of the Boxing Day test.
This year, the season is a bit more special. It is because both the home side and the visiting team would resume international cricket after a long break. In fact, it marks the end of a break enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic for both the sides.
To clarify, the Australians are all set to face the Indian cricket team for a four-match test series this December. The tour includes a few games of limited overs too. But, the highlight of this tour would be the test series indeed.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2020-21
The upcoming test series between India and Australia are special for a few reasons. Firstly, both the teams resume their journey towards the ICC Test Championship knockouts next year. In addition, the Indian team created history when they defeated Australia in Australia for the first time in a test series during their last tour two years ago. Hence, the hosts would attempt to settle the scores this time around.
Star Australian batting duo Steve Smith and David Warner had to miss that series owing to a ban. In fact, they were banned from international cricket for one year following a ball tampering controversy in South Africa. But, both of the cricketers will feature in the contest this year. Hence, they would be hungry to make it up for the last time too.
India retained the Border-Gavakar trophy for three years ahead of this series. Given the record, it is ought to be a spectacular series between the two.
Virat Kohli and his paternity leave
The Indian test captain Virat Kohli made the headline even months before the first ball is bowled at Australia. Earlier in an Instagram post he announced that he is going to be a father soon. Anushka Sharma, the wife of Virat is scheduled to give birth to their first child around January 2021.
Recently, Kohli applied to the BCCI for paternity leave, so he can stay close to his wife during the special moment. Hence, he will leave the test series midway, after playing the first one at Adelaide.
This means the Indian team will get a new captain at the onset of the Boxing Day test. In fact, this is considered to be the most special game of the series. It takes place on December 26 every year at Melbourne. As the residents of the country unboxes the Christmas gifts that morning, the Australian cricket team takes the field at MCG for an ensuing battle of test cricket.
Hence, the big question arises about the next face who takes the burden of leadership for India in test cricket in the absence of Kohli. In fact, it created a debate in the cricket fraternity already with two of the senior squad members as options for the role.
One of them is certainly Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane is the present vice-captain of India in the white jersey. The other option apart from Rahane appears in the form of Rohit Sharma. The success in limited overs for India and franchise cricket, in addition of electric form in test at recent times bring Rohit to this argument as the other candidate.
Ajinkya Rahane – the deserved one?
Ajinkya Rahane made his test debut as a middle-order batsman in the year 2013. The Mumbai lad has come a long way since then, especially in the longer format. Rahane holds a batting average of 42.88 in his test career. He has scored 4203 runs with 11 centuries to his name. In fact, he has the distinction of having test tons at England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Rahane’s good form with the bat led him to the role of vice captaincy of the Indian test side in the year 2016. He was appointed as the deputy of Virat Kohli at the role. Since then, he have played important roles on the field alongside the skipper for the team. He has been an excellent slip fielder too.
Earlier Stints as Indian Captain
In fact, Rahane got two opportunities to lead India in test cricket. He became the 33rd test captain for India in March 2017, when he led India to a convincing win over the touring Australians at Dharamsala. To clarify, Kohli got his shoulder injured in the earlier game. Hence, Rahane took over as the captain in the final test of the four-match series.
The series was even with both the teams having won one game each. Hence, the game was a virtual decider. The Australian skipper Steve Smith scored a brilliant century in the first innings. In response to 300 from Australian, the Indians took a lead of 32 runs in the following one. The Indian spinners thereafter wrecked havoc on the tourists as Australia collapsed to 137 all out.
India needed 106 runs to win the series. They faced a turbulent start with cheap dismissals of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara. But, a quickfire knock from captain Rahane made sure India retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Later in 2018, Rahane led India in the historic inaugural test match for Afghanistan. Kohli decided not to feature in this game to have some rest in the middle of a hectic cricket schedule. Rahane led the hosts to a daunting victory by an innings and 262 runs at Bangalore.
Rahane has a clean slate as the Indian captain in both test and ODI cricket. He has never lost a game as the leader of the side in both the formats. In fact, his calm and composed attitude as a cricketer has earned him recommendations for leadership.
By tradition, Rahane must get the charge of the team in absence of its regular skipper. His records as a dependable batsman overseas adds up to his qualifications for the role.
However, there is another prospective to this debate with a stunning popularity right now. To clarify, it goes by the name of Rohit Gurunath Sharma.