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KL Rahul becomes third Indian player to captain an ODI without captaining a List A game

KL Rahul also became the first Indian player after Mohinder Amarnath to captain in an ODI without playing 50 ODI games

KL Rahul, as he took the field as India’s ODI captain today, became the first player after Mohinder Amarnath to captain India in ODI cricket without playing even 50 ODI matches. Amarnath had done it more than three decades back in 1984 and now Rahul has done it in his 39th ODI itself.

It would not have been the case if Rohit Sharma, India’s regular skipper for both the white-ball formats, was fit for the ongoing series against South Africa, but with him at National Cricket Academy (NCA) at the moment nursing his hamstring injury, the selectors had to name Rahul as the stand-in captain of the side.

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Rahul also became only the third player ever in the history of Indian cricket, after Virender Sehwag and Narendra Hirwani, to captain India’s ODI team without captaining even once in List A cricket. Rahul plays for Karnataka in India’s domestic cricket and has been one of the top performers for them, but was never seen as a captaincy option.

India doesn’t have too many leadership options apart from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul

The only reason the Indian selectors have brought Rahul in the leadership group despite his lack of leadership experience in the domestic circuit is because India doesn’t have a lot of leadership options at the moment after the resignation of Virat Kohli as T20 captain and then subsequently his removal as the ODI captain as well.

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Apart from Rohit Sharma and Rahul, the other leadership options that India has at the moment are Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin. While Rishabh Pant is considered a bit too raw to be given the huge responsibility of leading the country right now, Ashwin is not a certainty for India in the playing XI all the time.

Jasprit Bumrah is someone whose name has been doing the rounds for a potential leadership role, but the problem with Bumrah is that he doesn’t play all the test matches for India at home and even in white-ball cricket, he gets rested a lot as a part of workload management.

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Taking all these reasons into account, the selectors have identified KL Rahul to be Rohit Sharma’s deputy at the moment in white-ball cricket and be groomed to take over the permanent leadership role later, possibly after the ODI World Cup 2023.

Rahul, however, because of the fitness issues of Rohit Sharma, might have to take over the role as a stand-in captain in quite a few games prior to the 2023 World Cup as well.

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Abhishek

I write a bit on cricket and I am more interested in technical and tactical side of the game, rather than bravado.

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