New Test captain also toasts contributions of Rahane, Pujara as India prepare for a proper changing of the guard
India’s Test cricket is at the precipice of a proper changing of the guard. There is a new captain, and the team is about 300 caps lighter in experience. Two new batters will have to pick up spots that have been occupied more or less since 2012. The new captain, though, is in no hurry to move on from the achievements and the contributions of those making way.
Even when looking forward to his own upcoming stint as a captain, Rohit made it a point to acknowledge Kohli. “I am looking forward to just win games as much as possible and do the right things with the right players in the squad,” Rohit said. “As a Test team we, at the moment, stand in a very good position if you look at our last five years in Test cricket. The whole credit goes to Virat himself to get us going in this particular format. What he has done with the Test team over the years was brilliant to see.
“I have to take it honestly from where he has left. The team stands in a very good position. Of course we are somewhere midway in the WTC table. But honestly I don’t think we have done anything wrong in the last two or three years of Test cricket. Of course we want to improve every game that we play. That is always going to be the benchmark for ourselves moving forward.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that Rohit is not excited with what he is now working with. “Those guys who are going to replace Pujara and Rahane, they have done exceedingly well whenever they have got an opportunity, whether it is first-class cricket back home or India A tours or whatever limited opportunities they have got playing Test cricket,” Rohit said. “I think we need to just back these guys to come good for us. At times, we need to look forward. Those guys have been waiting for a while now. Hopefully they can turn things around for us. It is just not about one or two games but I am looking at a number of years for them playing for India and doing well for us.”
India’s last few captains with the exception of Anil Kumble packed it in by the time they got to the age Rohit is when he is starting his captaincy. The last two-three years have been great for him, but it can be argued just 43 Test caps in such a long career is a middling return. Rohit, though, said he was not looking at any personal targets.
“What target should I set for me?” Rohit said. “My targets are set for the team. I am not thinking about myself. I am happy with 40 [Tests]. I don’t have regrets. Quite a few injuries, quite a few ups and downs, but that goes on in life and in cricket. You will never get a smooth ride in cricket. The ups and downs will teach you a lot. Now I don’t have personal targets that I have to do this, I have to do that. In front of me is a big job. I am just thinking we have to do well for the team.”
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo