Former India women’s captain Anjum Chopra said murmurs of change in captaincy in the India Test team will not lead to a healthy dressing room environment but only create conflicts as she backed Virat Kohli to continue leading the side in the longest format of the game.
Anjum Chopra, speaking to indiatoday.in, said Ajinkya Rahane’s performance as stand-in captain in Australia Tests was excellent but it’s unfair to disturb the combination of the senior national Test side.
Quite a few, including former cricketers, have stressed there is pressure on Virat Kohli after the way Ajinkya Rahane led India to a come-back-from-behind victory in a 4-Test series in Australia in January. India were down and out after losing the series opener in Adelaide wherein they were bowled out for their lowest-Test score of 36.
The visitors were under considerable pressure as Virat Kohli had left on paternity leave and senior bowler Mohammed Shami was ruled out with a fracture in the lead up to the 2nd Test. However, Rahane stepped with the bat and showcased tactical acumen as India outclassed Australia in the 2nd Test in Melbourne. The visitors then drew the 3rd Test in Sydney before creating history in Brisbane, breaching Australia’s Gabba fortress despite managing with an injury-ravaged squad.
To add to the murmurs, India lost the 1st Test of a 4-match series to England in Chennai as Virat Kohli returned to lead the side.
“Nothing. I don’t make anything of that argument (change in captaincy calls). Ajinkya Rahane scored a hundred, we won the Test match in Melbourne, brilliant! We drew the Test match in Sydney, we won the Test match in Brisbane, excellent performance. Every player has to go out there and perform. It’s not Ajinkya vs Virat or Virat vs Rohit. It’s about whoever is given an opportunity to go out there and perform, they are doing it to the best of their abilities and getting victories for the Indian team,” Chopra said.
“To say Virat should make way for Ajinkya just because Ajinkya’s team won in Australia Instead of creating a nice environment, it’s creating a conflict in the dressing room. Why go that way?”
‘Rahane and Kohli have been excellent friends’
Anjum Chopra also pointed out that the camaraderie between Kohli and Rahane has been excellent and both of them are focussed on helping the team win, regardless of their designations.
Rahane made it clear in the lead up to the England Test series, saying Kohli was and would continue to remain as the Test captain. The Mumbai batsman also highlighted that both the players have shared a good bond over the years and pushed each other to perform better.
“Ajinkya and Virat have been excellent friends. Designations don’t matter. Both of them played to help the team win. Only one of them can go out and toss the coin.
“As far as the dressing room camaraderie is fine, if people are thinking on the same lines, then I don’t think at the present moment the combination of Virat leading the side and Ajinkya as his deputy should be disturbed. You never know what the future holds but at the moment it shouldn’t be disturbed,” Chopra added.
Having conceded an early lead in the series, Kohli-led India will be keen on bouncing back when they take on England in the 2nd Test, starting February 13 in Chennai.