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In the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, who led the Indian Test team against Australia, is a non-brainer and former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar feels he will have the best chance of claiming the captaincy in one of the limited-overs Formats. Ever since Rohit led Mumbai Indians to their fifth title in the IPL, the Calls for a split captaincy in the Indian team have been rising. 

In Kohli’s absence, Rohit has also led India to the Asia Cup title. Although Ajinkya Rahane is the vice-captain on paper, Akhtar sees Rohit taking duties over of Kohli’s leadership after the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. The India captain will return home after the series-opener to attend the birth of his first child. 

Speaking to PTI, Akhtar expressed his views on the discussion. he said that “My take on it is pretty simple. From what I know Virat is very keen to take the team forward. It all depends on how fatigued he is feeling. He has been playing non-stop since 2010, has got 70 centuries and a mountain of runs under his belt,”. 

“If he is feeling fatigued, then he should think about giving the leadership role to Rohit in one of the formats (preferably T20s).

“I could see the boredom on his face during the IPL, maybe it was because of the bio-bubble situation, he seemed a bit stressed out. It all depends on how he feels. Rohit has been ready for captaincy for a while.”

The series will also be Rohit’s first in an overseas position as an opener and he will have to face a difficult task in the selection of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood.

Akhtar said “Rohit is one of the greatest batsmen India has produced. Now he also understands the real value of his talent,”

“Australia will be his best chance to prove himself as captain. He should grab it with both hands. He has the talent and ability to lead the team. It will be a tough test for India and I would look for these kinds of situations as a player.

“The whole world would be looking at Rohit as captain and batsman. If he does well for himself and the team, then there should be a debate about split captaincy.”

India won the series for the first time in Australia two years ago, but this time the task seems more difficult when Kohli was not available after the first Test and Australia became a strong team after the return of David Werner and Steve Smith

Akhtar said, “In my opinion, India have the ability to win again. But if their middle order doesn’t perform, I see them struggling. People will be watching this series with great interest including myself,”.

“The day-night Test will be their toughest test. If India plays well in those conditions, then you never know. The first two innings of the first Test will tell us where the series is headed.”

Akhtar’s count is all the rage in India’s bowling department and K.L. Rahul replaces Kohli for four wickets in the last three Tests. 

He also said, “It takes two-three innings to control that forward trigger movement in foreign conditions. You can’t drive on the up and have to play close to the body,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how the pitches will be. The Aussies will come hard at India that is for sure and won’t be giving easy balls to drive,”

Cummins, Hazlewood, and Starc all three mentioned, he said: “They can run through teams and they can run through your bodies (laughs). If Australia acts wisely, they should produce pace-friendly wickets,”. 

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