Who will be Team India’s future T20 captain after Rohit Sharma?

Team India is set to commence its next T20 World Cup cycle starting with a 5-match series in Zimbabwe scheduled from 6th July 2024 (Saturday) to 14th July 2024 (Sunday). The upcoming series doesn’t feature a majority of senior cricketers, especially after the retirement of the two batting legends Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the T20I format. These duo batters have taken this decision after India triumphed over South Africa by 7 runs to lift the T20 World Cup 2024 trophy.

Moreover, India will be playing without a full-time head coach. This is because Rahul Dravid’s contract as the head coach was valid till the recently concluded T20 World Cup and received a perfect farewell by winning the trophy.

The Indian skipper Rohit Sharma received praise from fans and former cricketers globally for leading his team to the second ICC T20 World Cup (T20 WC) title after 17 years.

Earlier, when India lost the T20 World Cup 2022 under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, a transition in the leadership seemed to be on its way. Since then, Rohit and Kohli haven’t featured in a single T20I match for almost fourteen months. During this period, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav took the leadership role for Team India’s T20I series.

However, Rohit Sharma returned as a T20I captain in January 2024 for a three-match home series against Afghanistan, following the injuries of Hardik and Suryakumar. Since it was Team India’s last assignment before the T20 World Cup 2024, BCCI had no choice but to include Rohit as the skipper and couldn’t prefer Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, or Jasprit Bumrah for that role.

As the Indian cricket team enters a new era, let’s find out the names of five eligible players who can become the next skipper in the T20I format.

5 Players who can become Team India’s next captain in T20I format

Here is a quick look at the top 5 captaincy options for the Men in Blue in T20 cricket format:

1. Hardik Pandya:

The all-rounder Hardik Pandya shouldered the huge responsibility of Team India’s vice-captain in the T20 World Cup 2024 and played a crucial for Rohit Sharma’s led side with both bat and ball.

In the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hardik has a proven track record of the best leadership skills where he guided Gujarat Titans to the title in its maiden season in 2022 and concluded as the runner-up in 2023. However, his second stint with Mumbai Indians as a skipper received severe backlash from fans and experts.

After India’s exit from the T20 World Cup 2022, Hardik was named as the captain for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, and his team won by 1-0. Similarly, the men-in-blue under Hardik’s captaincy maintained their domination with a whitewash against Sri Lanka by 3-0 and a 2-1 victory against the home series in New Zealand. However, Hardik’s last match as a T20I captain ended in a losing cause against West Indies in August 2023 with 2-3. 

Despite Pandya proving his captaincy skills, it would be a challenge for him to perform the dual role of skipper and all-rounder.

2. Suryakumar Yadav:

Ranked as one of the leading batters in the T20I format, Suryakumar Yadav has played an effective role with his aggressive batting performance in the middle order.

The 33-year-old cricketer successfully led India to a 5-match T20I home series against Australia 4-1 after the ODI World Cup in the previous year. Similarly, he captained India in the 3-match T20I series in South Africa in December 2023. In his last match as a T20I captain, Suryakumar’s 56-ball-hundred guided India to a massive victory against South Africa by 106 runs.

However, Suryakumar is in a hunt to secure a permanent spot in ODIs and Tests, which will provide him sufficient time to shift his focus completely toward the shortest format of cricket.

3. Jasprit Bumrah:

Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah has proven his abilities in all three formats of cricket — Tests, ODIs and T20Is.  With limited experience in captaincy, Bumrah is well known for his sharp decision-making and game knowledge and earlier played an important role as the vice-captain of his team.

After making a comeback from an injury, Bumrah led his team for the 2-match T20I series against Ireland. However, the team management would consider his future and ensure not burden the most essential fast bowler with additional responsibility as a skipper.

4. Rishabh Pant:

The 26-year-old left-handed batter Rishabh Pant made a tremendous comeback into international cricket after surviving a terrible car accident in December 2022.

In IPL 2024, Pant captained his team Delhi Capitals, and ranked as one of the highest run scorers in the tournament. Also, he was the skipper of the Indian cricket team in 2022 for the 5-match T20I home series against South Africa, which concluded with a 2-2 draw result.

After the T20 World Cup 2024, Rishabh Pant aims to strengthen his position in India’s T20 playing XI and probably the team management might experiment with the slot of wicketkeeper in the shortest format by looking for more suitable options.

5. Shubman Gill:

Although Shubman Gill wasn’t able to be a part of the T20 World Cup 2024 winning squad, he might become a regular top-order batter in T20Is after Rohit and Kohli’s retirement in this format.

The 24-year-old wasn’t impressive with his captaincy for Gujarat Titans in 2024 and doesn’t have any experience in leading the team at the international level. However, the management will be keen to groom a future Indian captain and Gill should make use of the opportunity to prove his leadership skills.

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