'After Rohit Sharma...' - Irfan Pathan raises a big question about the future of Indian cricket team
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan suggests that identifying suitable leaders to replace Rohit Sharma should be a key focus for Team India in 2024.
Rohit Sharma led India to the final of the 2023 ODI World Cup and is currently leading the team in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. However, it remains uncertain whether Rohit will continue to captain the Men in Blue in white-ball cricket, including the upcoming T20 World Cup.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan opined that finding future leaders after Rohit should be one of India's focus areas in 2024.
He said, "There are chances of a lot of changes in 2024. So if we prepare two or three leaders, we won't have too many problems. The focus should also be on which leaders you will prepare. The Indian team performed amazingly well for five years under Virat Kohli's leadership in Test cricket."
Pathan added, "They reached the No. 1 ranking. His fitness was fantastic. He performed well in every match and extracted performance from the team in every match. Rohit Sharma also got the team to perform amazingly well. We saw it in the World Cup and he won the Asia Cup but who after Rohit Sharma?"
Irfan Pathan urges the need to have a solid backup of pacers
Pathan expressed the need for India's think-tank to identify leaders capable of sustaining performance throughout the year. He emphasized the importance of fitness, particularly in younger players who are expected to prioritize their physical condition.
Irfan Pathan also stressed the importance of preparing backup options in the fast bowling department for the Indian team. He highlighted the potential vulnerability if key bowler Jasprit Bumrah were to be unavailable. Pathan suggested that the team should groom seven to eight fast bowlers, either through talent scouting or a dedicated focus on the Ranji Trophy.
While recognizing the Indian Premier League's role in talent identification and acknowledging the efforts of the BCCI and NCA (National Cricket Academy), Pathan underscored the necessity of maintaining a ready pool of seamers as a top priority.