Virat Kohli vs Rohit Sharma debate: Split captaincy cannot work in our culture, says Kapil Dev

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November 20, 2020 8:31 PM

Ever since Rohit Sharma guided Mumbai Indians to a fifth IPL title, a debate on split captaincy has gathered momentum with several former players suggesting that the opener be handed the leadership of at least the T20 side. Virat Kohli currently leads India in all three formats.

"If you have two captains, players might think he is going to be my captain in Tests. I will not annoy him," Kapil said. (File image)

“An MNC cannot have two CEOs”, said former India skipper Kapil Dev on Friday, making his stance clear on the raging debate over whether the national cricket team should go for split captaincy.

Ever since Rohit Sharma guided Mumbai Indians to a fifth IPL title, a debate on split captaincy has gathered momentum with several former players suggesting that the opener be handed the leadership of at least the T20 side. Virat Kohli currently leads India in all three formats.

“In our culture it is not going to happen that way. In one company you make two CEOs? No. If Kohli is going to play T20s and he is good enough. Let him be there. Even though I would like to see other people coming out. But it’s difficult,” said Kapil at the HT Leadership Summit which was held virtually.

“Our 80 per cent, 70 per cent of the team across formats is same team. They don’t like captains having different theory. It may bring more differences between the players who look up to the captain.

“If you have two captains, players might think he is going to be my captain in Tests. I will not annoy him.”

The 61-year-old recently underwent an angioplasty after suffering a heart attack.

Talking about the art of fast bowling, the 1983 World Cup-winning former skipper said fast bowlers opting for too many variations saddens him.

“I am not happy with fast bowlers (these days). The first ball cannot be cross seam. Players in IPL realised that swing is more important than pace. Sandeep (Sharma), who bowled 120 kph, was tougher because he was moving the ball,” he explained.

“Bowlers have to understand it’s not the pace, it’s the swing. They should learn but are running away from art. T Natarajan was my hero of IPL. Young boy was fearless and bowling so many yorkers,” the legendary all-rounder said referring to the two Sunrisers Hyderabad pacers.

Kapil feels variations are a waste if one doesn’t know how to swing the ball.

“Keep your wrist straight, hold the ball seam-up. Whenever the ball moves Tests matches become important. Wasim, Botham, Willis, Hadlee. McGrath, look how good he was.

“The art of swing bowling should come back. Learning the knuckle ball and all is fine. If you don’t know how to swing the ball, everything is waste,” said the great all-rounder.

However, the battery of pacers that India possesses now pleases Kapil immensely.

“I read somewhere that Lara said he (would) rather prefer face Kapil Dev but not Lara. Our fast bowlers are brilliant.

“Look at Shami, Bumrah. As a cricketer, it gives me a lot of happiness to say that today we depend on our fast bowlers. Our bowlers are capable of taking 20 wickets in a match. We’ve had spinners — Kumble, Harbhajan, but today no country would like to say ‘give them bouncy wickets’.”

He also appealed to the ICC to ensure Test cricket doesn’t die in the age of T20 cricket.

“If it (Test cricket) dies, I would say ICC have done the worst thing… Let us not let it die… Yes cricket has changed. People around the world only want to play IPL, BBL and tournaments like that…

“I would say IPL has given us strength. What used to be county cricket, every player used to play there (in England) but today IPL is giving the same benefit to us as the players are coming and playing in India.

“…Don’t just think about T20 or IPL, you have to look after first class cricket, Tests and ODIs. Yes, money making factor is there but we should not forget our tradition. Tennis for example, we still have Wimbledon played on grass,” said Kapil.

He also added that whoever wins the upcoming India-Australia series, the team should go on to the win the World Test Championship.

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