Brisbane: Virat Kohli has emerged the next big thing of Indian cricket after the selectors anointed the young Indian batsman as the vice captain of the team for the Asia Cup, on Wednesday.
The Delhi middle-order batsman has the figures and the swagger for the selectors to leapfrog him over the stakes of a few others in the squad with captaincy ambitions.
Both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, it would appear, hardly stand a chance to be India`s future captain as well as Suresh Raina, who briefly looked to be in line of succession, at least in the one-day format.
Kohli`s figures speak for himself - the highest ODI run-getter in 2011 with 1381 runs from 34 matches at 47.62 with four centuries.
The 23-year-old batsman has so far managed 373 runs at 53.29 with two 50s and one century in the Commonwealth Bank one-day series so far. It has come on the heels of his 300 runs in the four-Test series with a century and fifty apiece.
Sehwag, ostensibly `rested` for Bangladesh, has been a miserable presence in both Tests and ODIs this summer, averaging 13 from five triangular series matches and finishing with 198 in Tests at 24.75.
Gambhir, despite his three 50s in one-dayers and two in Tests, has appeared a soft presence and doesn’t seem proactive enough to convey he has the energy for the job. Raina`s stocks have fallen as a batsman against quick bowlers on bouncy and seaming tracks and he doesn’t appear a certainty in all three formats of the game.
With skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni showing a wretched technique in the Tests, to go with his stated position to review his role in Test cricket in 2013, the selectors have obviously shown an urgency to streamline the succession issue.
Kohli has thus been the chosen man, not least since he also in his junior days have led India to Under-19 World Cup triumph in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the youngster who appeared set for a Test exile after miserable failures in the first two Tests in Australia this summer, scoring 43 runs from four innings of the first two Tests.
He then turned things around with successive scores of 44, 75, 116 and 22 in the remaining two Tests and has appeared his dominant self in the one-dayers.
Kohli thus has been assured the baton of captaincy as he looks a certainty for India in all formats, in varying conditions of both home and abroad.
The youngster still has issues with his volatile temperament, once flashing the middle finger at crowd in Sydney and regularly flaring up in press conferences against Australian cricketers and fans.
Selectors have also shown a remarkable trust in Dhoni to be at helm of affairs despite his two miserable series in England and Australia. Clearly, the job of captaincy is for keeps for the Ranchi cricketer as long as he wants it - more so since he wouldn`t have testing foreign conditions to contend with at least for next two years.
The five wise men have chosen to deal with the smouldering dissension in the unit, highlighted by media and doused by the board, by siding with Dhoni and the ‘resting’ of Sehwag hasn’t fooled anyone.
If anything, it would force the grumbling voices in the unit to fall in line behind the powerful Dhoni, strengthening his hands.
With equations in the team being redrawn by the selectors, the present team has served to emphasize two very critical points - one, Dhoni remains the strongest man in Indian cricket and two, Kohli is now the chosen one for future.
It would be interesting to see how Sehwag and Gambhir take this setback in stride and look to prove a point if India were to qualify for the finals of the ongoing triangular series.