In a candid assessment of the recent adoption of split captaincy by the Indian cricket team for the South Africa tour, former cricketer Irfan Pathan expressed reservations, stating that he is not a big fan of the idea and hopes it doesn’t become a cultural norm for Indian cricket.
The upcoming multi-format series against South Africa will witness different captains for each format, with KL Rahul leading the ODI team, Suryakumar Yadav captaining the T20I side, and Rohit Sharma taking charge in the Test series. While the move is seen as a strategy for workload management, Pathan believes it signals potential changes in the future.
“This could be a sign for the future, which I am not a big fan of. There has been talk for a long time about whether we can do split captaincy. It’s true workload management has been done here, and that is why you are seeing such big squads and different captains,” Pathan expressed during a discussion on the Star Sports show Game Plan.
He further speculated that this trend might extend to having different coaches for different formats, a departure from the current Indian cricket culture where there is consistency in both coaching and captaincy across formats.
“It’s clear that Rohit Sharma had to take a break from white-ball cricket, so you are not seeing him there. You are seeing him as the captain of Test cricket. However, you might see these things going forward. You might even see different coaches for different formats. I believe it’s better if it doesn’t happen in our culture,” Pathan added.
Pathan emphasized the abundance of players in the Indian squad who play across all formats, making continuity in coaching and captaincy a practical and beneficial approach. He cited the example of players like Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill, who showcase versatility by participating in various formats.
“If we see white-ball and red-ball cricket, we only have two or three players who are different, where you can consider players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. However, if you see other than that, we generally have all-format players. If we talk about our youngsters, you will see Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill playing everywhere. So most of our players are like that, who play all formats. That’s why if you have 70 to 80% players who play all formats, it’s better if the coach and captain are also the same,” he added.