Former India opener Aakash Chopra said on Saturday that India could have avoided replacing Shikhar Dhawan as the captain for the ODI series against Zimbabwe at the eleventh hour, saying the senior batter should have led the team during their overseas trip.
Aakash Chopra, speaking on his YouTube channel, said KL Rahul could have continued playing as a pure batter in Zimbabwe before he took over the role of Rohit Sharma’s deputy at the Asia Cup, starting August 27 in the UAE.
Shikhar Dhawan was initially named captain for India’s ODI squad for the Zimbabwe series after the likes of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Virat Kohli were rested. However, the BCCI on August 11 announced that KL Rahul was fit again for the ODI series and he would lead the ODI squad while Shikhar Dhawan will be his deputy.
Notably, Dhawan led India in the ODI series against the West Indies last month when the seniors were rested and KL Rahul was unavailable after he contracted Covid-19.
Rahul has not played competitive cricket since leading Lucknow Super Giants to Indian Premier League 2022 to the play-offs. Rahul was named captain for the home T20I series against South Africa but he had to pull out from the series as he underwent surgery for sports hernia in Germany.
“If it was in my hands, I would have avoided that. He (Rahul) was originally not named in the squad for Zimbabwe series,” Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“I understand he is the vice-captain for the Asia Cup but there is another truth, that currently there are 8-10 captains in the team. Rishabh Pant is captain, Hardik Pandya is captain, and I do not think Suryakumar is far away from captaincy. Rohit Sharma is the captain, Virat Kohli has been the captain before. It was not important, this thing could have been avoided,” he added.
“Shikhar Dhawan is a senior guy, how does it matter if he is the captain? KL Rahul can play purely as a batter, it does not matter if he is the captain or not. You could have carried on with it, if you had announced Shikhar Dhawan as captain, you could have let it be. In my opinion, Dhawan should have stayed as the captain,” he added.
All eyes will be on KL Rahul as the star batter will be looking to find form ahead of the Asia Cup. The star opener last toured Zimbabwe in 2016 wherein he scored 196, including a hundred, in 3 ODIs.