Is Rohit Sharma still the best T20 skipper? If not, then who is?
Rohit Sharma replaced Virat Kohli after T20 WC 2021
A year ago, Indian cricket went through a similar upheaval - Virat Kohli had recently announced that he would be leaving T20I team's reign. And the Men in Blue lost their opening T20 World Cup match against Pakistan by ten wickets - it was their first-ever defeat to the arch-rivals in World Cup history.
Suddenly, the Kohli fandom ended, and a wave favouring Captain Rohit Sharma started rushing from top to bottom.
What happened next? Obviously, we all know that!
Rohit Sharma - the most successful IPL captain and arguably the best that T20 cricket has ever seen - took command of India in all three forms of cricket. But T20, his main forte, was of utmost importance as the next T20 World Cup was in one year.
He, alongside Rahul Dravid, thought that the best way to play the shortest format would be how England play. See the ball, hit the ball - all throughout the innings. Not to blame them entirely, as the English approach initially started to work for the Men in Blue.
The Sharma-Dravid duo started winning bilaterals after bilaterals. And everything seemed to be sorted in Indian cricket.
But that should have been their first red flag. Why, you ask?
The new leadership duo were tricked into the same old Indian habit of not working on the drawbacks but curtaining them with bilateral trophies.
The vapour-like curtain created by bilateral trophies vanished as soon as the Rohit Sharma-led force was knocked out of the Asia Cup and then brutally bashed out of the World Cup by the same England team, whose approach they tried replicating.
What happened in backdrop of T20 World Cup 2022 loss?
What occurred in the pinnacle tournaments was written on the walls. India might have won seven consecutive T20I series under the Sharma-Dravid duo. Still, they failed to deliver on the biggest - and undoubtedly the most important - stage on the face of this planet.
Losing two major tournaments doesn't turn you into a lousy captain overnight. And especially after winning six championships for Mumbai Indians (Five in IPL and one Champions League). So why this scrutiny now?
Rohit scored 116 runs after six matches in T20 WC 2022
Hopes were too high, but Rohit never asked to raise the expectation barrier that high.
Yes, he is the most successful captain present in T20 cricket. Or is he?
Of course, he has like a zillion accomplishments under his belt. So that makes him the best T20 skipper?
He and his MI are just like Ricky Ponting's Australia from the 2000s. Not comparing winning an IPL to winning a freaking World Cup. But there are similarities between the two. I am, of course, not comparing the batting calibres of their captains. But both those teams had a well-oiled engine; they are - what we call in layman's language - aeroplanes operating on autopilot mode.
Decoding Ro-Esque captaincy
Coming back to the topic, coming back to Rohit Sharma. The Ro-Hitman, as we call him, had his plans sorted when captaining Mumbai.
This would plug here, and that would be removed from there - and that is how things worked for him in 2013 and 2015 and 2017 and 2019 and 2020. Phew.
Although he became clueless when he fell short of resources - yes, I am talking about the 2022 season for MI and those two pinnacle tournaments for India.
Rohit during the Bangladesh clash
India and Mumbai Indians, in their downfall, needed someone to make the players rub shoulder-to-shoulder for the very last run left in the bank. Or things could have worked just fine for Rohit Sharma if he continued being an MSD-like monk.
However, who doesn't make mistakes? We all do. Let the bygones be bygones. Let Rohit concentrate on the 2023 World Cup now. 2022 was just his maiden attempt at an ICC event.
Who is the best in the race then?
Are you wondering how I would summarise this piece by comparing Rohit with any of his contemporaries?
Okay, I can do that.
If asking me tactically the best in T20s - Kane Williamson and Dasun Shanaka.
If asking me who rotates his bowlers the best - Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam.
If asking me who has the best team - Undoubtedly, Jos Buttler.
But who should be given Indian team reign - My answer would be Hardik Pandya.