During a recent chat, Harsha Bhogle threw up an interesting point: If the IPL is supposed to be a platform for Indian cricket to fine tune its team, strengthen its bench, then how well has it done in terms of throwing up the future captain of the national team?
There’s MS Dhoni with the Chennai Super Kings, as incumbent. There’s Viru Sehwag with Delhi, but he says he doesn’t want to lead the national team [the reasons for the sudden renunciation remain unclear].
There’s Yuvraj Singh with the Punjab outfit, but… “Yuvraj’s comment that the captaincy makes him angry is in my mind the quote of the IPL,” Harsha said. Besides, if you were paying close attention to Punjab’s games, what would have struck you with force is that Yuvraj was captain in name only — it was Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara who at all times seemed to be controlling the action; they were constantly consulting each other, making changes in the field placing, deciding on bowling changes — and Yuvraj was quite content to stay in his fielding position and let the two Sri Lankans handle the reins.
“I don’t want to be a captain, I have already told selectors about it. I have said that a new player should be made vice-captain and be groomed to be a captain,” Sehwag told Indian news channel News24. “I want that I should continue to score runs and keep winning matches for the team.”
Full marks to Viru for foresight, and for being upfront about his own intentions/ambitions and lack thereof — but where do the selectors go for the next vice captain? Gautam Gambhir has done fairly decently when he has had to take the reins from Viru, but outside of the Delhi opener, there is not in this Indian squad a single player from the younger lot who has cemented his position to the point where he is an automatic pick, and hence an option for apprenticeship in the leadership role.