Ravi Shastri: Don’t like vice-captain in home conditions

Former India coach Ravi Shastri is against the idea of picking a vice-captain in a home series as he feels it complicates the selection of the best XI when the deputy team leader is not in form. Shastri also hinted that Shubman Gill should replace KL Rahul in the remaining two Tests of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.

There has been a lot of talk around India vice-captain Rahul’s prolonged lean patch. The opener has scores of 22, 23, 10, 2, 20, 17 and 1in his last seven innings. With the young Gill waiting in the wings despite his stellar run across formats, the pressure is increasing on Rahul. “The team management know his [Rahul’s] form, they know his mental state. They know how they should be watching someone like Gill,” Shastri said on the ICC Review podcast.

‘I would go with my best XI’

“I always had the belief [to] never appoint a vice-captain for India. I would rather go with my best XI, and if the captain has to leave the field, you’d zero in on a player that can take over at the time, simply because you don’t need to create complications.” Rahul, who was the designated vice-captain for the first two Tests of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, has retained his place for the final two games, but is no longer Rohit Sharma’s deputy.

Ravi Shastri

“If the vice-captain doesn’t perform, someone can take his place; at least the tag is not there. I’m being blunt and brutal, I never like vice-captain in home conditions. Overseas, it’s different. Here, you want prime form, you want someone like Gill, who’s red hot. He will challenge. He has to bang that door down and get into the side. Now, he’s not the vice-captain, it has to be the team management’s decision,” he said.

No dearth of talent

The former India all-rounder said there is no dearth of talent in India and a player needs to be consistent to keep his place in the team. “They will have to see form, his state of mind. He’s a tremendous player, but talent is only so much. You have to convert that into results and be consistent. “There’s so much talent in India who is knocking the door. It’s not just Rahul, there are many in the middle-order and bowling lineup as well, there is a lot of dept.”

Also read: Cheteshwar Pujara: My dream is to win WTC Final

Shastri said a break can do a world of good for a player who is struggling with form. “Sometimes a break for the player in those conditions is far better because he can go away, work on his game and come back stronger. “In my tenure, Pujara was dropped, came back with hundreds, KL was dropped, came back strongly. You can’t carry T20 form into Test cricket.”

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