As the ODI World Cup 2023 approaches, the Indian cricket team is readying itself to break their decade-long wait for another ICC trophy. It’s essential to remember that the Indian side’s last triumph on the global stage was the Champions Trophy in 2013, led by the legendary MS Dhoni. Since then, the team has been striving to recapture that prestigious ICC title.

Under the guidance of Virat Kohli, Team India made a noteworthy appearance in the 2019 ODI World Cup, encountered an unexpected early exit in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and endured a heart-wrenching loss in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy against Pakistan. Following Kohli’s departure from the captaincy, Rohit Sharma assumed leadership across formats in early 2022, achieving an impressive winning percentage of 74.04% in ODIs, with 20 victories in 27 matches. Nonetheless, the 2022 World T20 saw India bowing out in the semi-finals.

With the impending ODI World Cup 2023, all attention turns to Indian captain Rohit Sharma and batting virtuoso Virat Kohli.

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Shoaib Akhtar’s Audacious Captaincy Verdict Preceding World Cup 2023

In the meantime, former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar provided a discerning analysis of two distinct eras – the Dhoni era and the post-Dhoni era. In his comparison, Akhtar underscored MS Dhoni’s equanimity as a differentiating factor, a quality that played a pivotal role for Team India. In contrast, Akhtar characterized Rohit Sharma’s captaincy as “nervous,” and Virat Kohli’s approach as “excessively aggressive.”

During an interview on ‘Backstage With Boria,’ Akhtar elaborated on the absence of the composure MS Dhoni brought to the table in subsequent Indian captains, contributing to the Men in Blue’s inability to clinch another ICC trophy over the past decade.

“Dhoni was a leader who absorbed the entire team’s pressure on his own shoulders,” Akhtar noted. “Only a captain can serve as a shield for the entire team. While Rohit is undeniably an exceptional individual, he falters as a captain, displaying signs of anxiety. These might be candid words, but I question whether he was the right choice for captaincy.”

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Additionally, Akhtar conceded that while Rohit outshines Kohli as a batsman, he remains uncertain about his decision-making during pivotal moments in matches. Akhtar shared his perspective:

“Even Kohli, despite his immense talent, doesn’t match up to him,” Akhtar continued. “His timing and shot selection… he’s a traditional batter – but was he truly cut out for captaincy? It’s a question I often ask myself. Does he respond effectively under intense pressure situations? It’s a question that warrants consideration.”

Despite his critique, Akhtar extended his support to Rohit Sharma, encouraging him to prove him wrong in the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023, potentially marking his final stint as a white-ball captain. Akhtar expressed:

“Without a doubt, Rohit [Sharma] possesses the potential to secure this World Cup,” the 48-year-old affirmed. “With the fervent support of the home crowd, the team’s strength, and his individual skill set, he can defy expectations. Proving me and others wrong – I have no doubt he’s more than capable of achieving that. Nevertheless, I believe that since 2013, India’s captaincy has struggled under pressure, even during Kohli’s tenure. Kohli tends to become overly aggressive, while Rohit grapples with nervousness.

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