It was a major win for Team India, with the Asia Cup title win happening less than three weeks before the start of their ODI World Cup campaign at home, but a bigger boost for Rohit Sharma the captain, who will be heading towards his biggest and probably the final assignment as a limited-overs captain. Having won the Asia Cup against Sri Lanka, with a near flawless run, India have ticked most, if not all, the boxes ahead of the World Cup. And while there was never a discussion about Rohit’s ability to lead the side in the ODI format, batting legend Gautam Gambhir gave his verdict on his captaincy in the continental event while firing a “Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid” warning.
India lost just one match in the 2023 Asia Cup tournament. Their opener against Pakistan was washed out due to rain before they beat Nepal to make the Super Four. India then crushed Pakistan and Sri Lanka to make the final before incurring their only loss in the contest, in an inconsequential tie against Bangladesh on Friday.
India however decimated the defending champions in the final with Mohammmed Siraj making a mockery of their batting as he picked up a record six-fer in folding Sri Lanka for just 50 runs, the lowest ever score by a team in an Asia Cup tie. India chased down the target in just 6.1 overs with Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill guiding India to a 10-wicket win in Colombo.
Following India’s second Asia Cup title win under Rohit, the previous being in 2018 with a second-string side when Kohli was rested, Gambhir, in conversation with Star Sports admitted that with the veteran opener having won five IPL titles before being named as a full-time India skipper, there was never a doubt about his captaincy credentials. However, he warned him saying that questions will be raised on the team and his captaincy if India fail to deliver in the 2023 ODI World Cup just like Kohli had faced the wrath in 2019 and Dravid in 2007.
“There was never a doubt about Rohit the captain. He won 5 IPL titles. Many didn’t even win once. But his real test will come in the next 15 days. You have your best 15-18 players in the dressing room now. If they cannot deliver they there will be question marks. After every World Cup, if the captain is unable to deliver then questions will be raised. Virat Kohli faced it. Rahul Dravid faced it in 2007. If India fail to deliver in 2023, then questions will be raised on Rohit’s captaincy. But this team has the ability to make the World Cup final,” he said.
India will next play a three-match ODI series against Australia before kicking off their World Cup campaign in Chennai starting October 8.