Split captaincy has been a long time debate not just in Indian cricket but in World cricket. While some countries do have different captains for different formats, there are few like India who prefer to have only one captain for all 3 formats. Currently though, India is blessed to have few players who are good in all three formats and their captain, Virat Kohli is exceptional whether it is in Tests, ODIs or T20Is.
But some teams are not that lucky in this aspect. England have Joe Root as Test captain and Eoin Morgan as white ball captain. Australia have Tim Paine as Test captain and Aaron Finch to lead in white ball formats. Morgan doesn’t play Test cricket while Paine doesn’t play ODIs. One more reason why these countries can afford to have different captains is because there is no clashes of power at top. An English or Australian captain doesn’t have the same cult following that an Indian captain has which brings clashes at the top even if it eases the person from extra burden of leadership every time he takes on the field.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, famous English broadcaster Nasser Hussain shared his thoughts over Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma leading India in three different formats. When the host of the chat Harsha Bhogle asked him about split captaincy in Indian cricket, here is what he said.
” It depends upon the characters. Virat is such an imposing character that it would be very difficult for him to handle anything over (to Rohit or any other option) whereas in England, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan are two very laid-back (relaxed) characters. “
In a nutshell, according to him the split captaincy can only work if both the captains are easy going and calm characters instead of either one of them being extremely dominating and commanding personality which is the case with India at the moment. Although India never had different captains for different formats even when MS Dhoni was at helm who is considered to be a calm headed personality.
Nasser also suggested that split coaches would be a better option in future than split captains. He gave the example of Trevor Bayliss who as per Hussain, took England to a World Cup glory in ODIs but couldn’t quite crack the Test format and hence, different coaches for different formats would be a more viable option as it wouldn’t involve any factor of conflict in the side.
Implementing this in Indian cricket would be no lesser risk than implementing the idea of different captains as an Indian coach, pretty much like an Indian captain, enjoys lot of power at top and can feel threatened or insecure of his position if the team starts doing better in the other format under a different coach which may affect the dressing room environment at some point. Also, the players playing all three formats might find it difficult to follow the ideas of two different coaches.
Split captaincy has never been favored in India which is why a lot of captains have continued to lead the team despite not being so good in the other format/formats. Sometimes, that also makes sure the captain stays in the playing 11 irrespective of his personal performance in the weaker format which wouldn’t have been the case if he had not been a captain.
Nasser also revealed his favorite White ball and Red ball captains in world cricket at the moment. He picked Eoin Morgan as his favorite white ball captain while Kane Williamson was his choice for Test captaincy. When asked about three favorite batsmen to watch in Indian cricket, he picked Kohli, Rahul and Rohit Sharma.