India’s thrashing of Sri Lanka was a flawless start to Rohit Sharma’s captaincy as test captain. The Mohali test was Rohit’s first assignment as India’s test captain after Virat Kohli stepped down. In an unexpected move following the team’s 2-1 setback in their previous test series in South Africa, Kohli announced his forfeit of the captain title.
The 34-year-old could not have asked for a better start as India hammered Sri Lanka by an innings and 222 runs in three days.
Not All Hope Is Lost
Ravindra Jadeja may have scored 175* runs and taken nine wickets in Mohali, but that doesn’t mean he understands everything. When Jadeja backed the team back after his five-wicket haul, Rohit jokingly suggested he instead raise the ball to the pavilion terrace. That’s where the majority of the crowd was, as well as the TV camera.
However, as Jadeja turned the right way, it made for a picture-perfect TV moment. As the rest of his teammates celebrated and cheered from behind, Jadeja walked a few feet ahead, saluting the ball to the audience. But, aside from the beauty of the frame, there was something else that stood out. That is the amount of match-winners India still has on their team. Thankfully, the majority of them had a say in the Mohali Test.
Behind Jadeja was Virat Kohli, who played his 100th Test appearance in a brutal age of non-stop cricket. Then, there was Ravichandran Ashwin, who surpassed Kapil Dev’s wicket tally to become India’s second-most successful bowler hours later. Moreover, there’s also Rishabh Pant, the wicket-keeper hitter with a career compelling enough for India to raise him to No.5.
Not to mention Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who appeared at ease on a track that offered nothing. A surprise off-cutter from Bumrah to get Charith Asalanka was reminiscent of his iconic dismissal of Shaun Marsh at Melbourne. Additionally, Shami had an equally brilliant moment when he caught Dimuth Karunaratne behind with the ball seaming away.
Rohit Shines As The Captain
Rohit may have missed out on runs in his debut Test as India captain, but he made up for it with some superb captaincy skills. At No.3, he handed Hanuma Vihari his moment in the spotlight. Moreover, he also decided to bring Ashwin into the game as soon as India bowled the fifth over. Throughout the Test, he also set some extremely intelligent fields.
The all-format captain, on the other hand, believes that there is a greater challenge than winning matches. He believes that building a bench strength to safeguard the team’s future is that challenge.
“It’s not just about the 11 players. It’s also about the people who are sitting outside waiting for their moment,” Rohit said after the win on Sunday. “About building the bench strength that will secure Indian cricket’s future.”
“You can’t simply state that you have to win games. But there are a lot of things that you need to do to win games. Build bench strength, offer players clarity, and create a healthy environment where people want to go out there and do their job. We’ll try to support them as much as possible, so that when they get home at the end of the day, they feel like, “Okay, you know what, I got my chance, and even if I didn’t perform well, I’m still happy,” Rohit added.