India is set to battle Sri Lanka from 13 July when India tours Sri Lanka next month. Rahul Dravid is the head coach for this tour, as a majority of the team consists of his students. Over the years, there have been a few cricketers who played their first match as a captain against Sri Lanka. In today’s article, we will take a look at 5 Indians who made their captaincy debut against Sri Lanka.
#1. Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev became the captain of the Indian team for the first time during the 1982-83 season against Sri Lanka. Sunil Gavaskar, India’s captain at that time rested himself for the ODI series. Thus Dev took his place and made his captaincy debut against Sri Lanka in the first ODI.
India won the match comfortably by 78 runs. They put forth an all-round performance, outplaying Sri Lanka completely. India posted a score of 269/7 with the help of Kris Srikkanth (57), Ashok Malhotra (40), skipper Kapil Dev (49) and Yashpal Sharma (37). In the bowling department, Dilip Joshi was the leading wicket-taker, taking 4 wickets for 44 runs. Kapil Dev bowled brilliantly, giving away just 9 runs from 8 overs.
#2. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. While he cemented his place in the history books as a cricketer, Tendulkar experienced mixed success as a captain. He served as a captain of the team twice in his career. But he made his captaincy debut against Sri Lanka in the Singer Cup 1996. Mohammad Azharuddin’s poor performance while being a captain prompted BCCI to appoint Sachin as a captain at the young age of 23.
However, it didn’t go as planned, as India lost the match by 9 wickets. Despite Tendulkar’s century (110), India managed to make only 226/5 in their 50 overs. Azharuddin played an extremely slow innings, scoring 58 off of 99 balls. The rest of the batsmen failed to perform. In the bowling department, Tendulkar was the sole wicket-taker as Sri Lanka won the match comfortably by 9 wickets. All of the bowlers proved to be ineffective, and Jayasuriya was named the Man of the Match for his century.
#3. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is the current Indian skipper and is one of the best batsmen in the world. He followed the footsteps of MS Dhoni and now leads the country in all formats of the game. Kohli, however, first played as a captain against Sri Lanka in a triangular series between Sri Lanka, India and West Indies in 2013. He did so after Dhoni got injured in the ODI against Sri Lanka. Dhoni was subsequently ruled out of the series and thus Kohli captained the team for the rest of the series.
Kohli’s first outing as a captain was abysmal, as India lost the match in a decisive fashion. Upul Tharanga’s knock of 174* propelled Sri Lanka to 348/1. R Ashwin was the sole wicket-taker, and Kohli’s inexperience shined through as India’s bowling got hammered all over the place. It was a poor showing in the batting department too, as India got bundled out for just 187. Jadeja was the highest scorer with an unbeaten 49.
#4. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is the current Indian vice-captain and leads the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Sharma is a great leader and is thus always in the conversation of being appointed the captain. He made his captaincy debut against Sri Lanka when India hosted Sri Lanka in 2017. In preparation for India’s tour of South Africa, Virat rested himself after the Test series. So Rohit Sharma took up the reins of the team.
India suffered a batting collapse against Sri Lanka as they got bundled out for 112. In the end, MS Dhoni scored 65, after getting some help from Kuldeep Yadav. Sharma got out on just 2. Sri Lanka won the match by seven wickets, reaching the target in just 20.4 overs.
#5. Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan is yet to play a single match as a captain, but he will very soon, as India will take on Sri Lanka in July 2021. Players like Virat Kohli will be resting themselves following the WTC final. Thus, this team will feature lots of new players and a new captain in the form of Shikhar Dhawan.
Dhawan leading the team isn’t the only major change here. Rahul Dravid will be stepping in for Ravi Shastri as the head coach for this tour. It will be interesting to see how Dhawan performs while managing his batting as well as the captaincy.