Captaincy has been a hot topic over the past week, be it for Team India or for a franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL). And the man in the centre of the sandstorm in the UAE has been Virat Kohli.
While the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be on the possible lookout for a new captain, it might be the same story for a few other franchises as well. The scenario might be different for others, but a steady leadership is definitely desired by all the teams.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the helm; and with a player, leader and mentor like him, you may look no further. But they too will need to plan for it in the coming months. It is a team high on experience but the youth elements are limited.
Suresh Raina might have been in consideration, but since he has retired from all forms of the game now, he remains only a franchise cricketer. Hence an upcoming, talented player like Ruturaj Gaikwad may come into the fray. He has age on his side, is among the top brass of identified talent (players) by the Indian selectors and has been shown the confidence by his franchise.
His debut for CSK was not the brightest last year in the UAE, but the team stuck with him right at the top even when the going was tough. They backed him to come good, which he eventually did. With a couple of half-centuries, he announced his talent at the IPL, repaying the faith and confidence that team had shown when they were languishing at the bottom of league table.
For a player that is worth gold. A feeling of being wanted, desired in the dressing room. It is the best confidence booster a player can receive, especially at the beginning of his/her journey.
His days spent alongside Dhoni is possibly the best grooming the player from Maharashtra might have. And, he is handpicked by Dhoni for CSK. Much junior to Dhoni, but their paths have crossed in domestic cricket. So, a young talent that has been identified, backed and groomed from the start is a good prospect to incorporate the values and systems of the franchise and its team.
A similar luxury does not exist with RCB at present. The team has big names, but no young talent has been spotted yet to lead the franchise.
Devdutt Padikkal is the only young player who can be in the mix. He is a certainty in the playing XI and a has possible future with Indian cricket. Again, a player who is a product of domestic cricket and has been a performer right from his junior days in Karnataka.
I do believe that the speed of the leader is the speed of the team. Yes, every player in the team is absolutely essential and needs to be self-reliant too, but you do need a solid leader at the top to lead this pack.