India’s loss against Australia in the World Test Championship final has raised several questions, the most prominent of which is whether Rohit Sharma should continue as the captain of the India Test team or not.

When major sports teams are defeated in marquee sporting events, it is generally followed by large-scale sentimental reactions and India’s defeat to Australia last week is no different.

Rohit became Test captain in 2022 after Virat Kohli’s surprise resignation. He has led in seven Test matches so far, winning four and losing two. Three Wisden India writers argue whether India should stick with him as India Test captain or not.

Abhishek Mukherjee, Head of Content, Wisden India – Yes

As captain, Rohit lost his first Test match outside Asia, emulating Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Virat Kohli, all of whom got reasonable runs at the helm. To sack him at this point would be a knee-jerk reaction based on one defeat.

Leadership does not seem to affect his batting either. With a 500-run cut-off, only Shreyas Iyer (44.40) and Rishabh Pant (43.40) averaged more than Rohit in the 2021-23 World Test Championship. Earlier this year, he made a magnificent hundred on a rank turner, and he was India’s best batter on their 2021-and-2022 tour of England.

Rohit is not getting any younger, and there have been concerns over his fitness for some time. However, he may choose to give up one, or even two, formats at international level to counter that.

Aadya Sharma, Wisden India Editor – No

Rohit should exit, but it shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction. There are no doubts over Rohit, the tactician, and the environment he builds around players to succeed. His trophy cabinet attests it enough. The answer here isn’t just about Rohit’s capability as a Test captain.

There needs to be a succession plan. Rohit has played Tests on and off in the last three years and has struggled to find the steadiness and consistency that once formed the highlight of his game.

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The workload on Rohit is also immense: to be the official captain in all three formats, have the ODI World Cup – arguably his best format – fast approaching, and be coming off a full IPL season as captain is a long stack of responsibilities. In Rohit’s best interest, he needs to take a step back. It could free him up as a Test opener, and also lessen some load for the road ahead.

Consequently, it also gives India a chance to explore its future leader. And yes, there is no clear successor, but some of the sport’s best captains have been unpopular picks that turned out to be great. The next few months could be spent figuring out who that name is.

Naman Agarwal, Wisden India Staff Writer – Yes

Already 36, Rohit Sharma is not at his fittest, but he leads India in all three formats. He is obviously not a long-term captaincy option.

Yet, India do not have other candidates for the post at the moment. Kohli does not seem keen on the position anymore; Rahane neither holds a central contract nor has a guaranteed spot in the side; Rahul has been dropped; and Pant and Bumrah are out injured.

That leaves Pujara, Ashwin, Jadeja, Gill, Shami, and Siraj as the other mainstays of the Test side. Pujara may not be around for long; Ashwin is, for whatever reason, not a sure starter overseas; Jadeja has had a bad episode with captaincy; Gill is extremely young; and seldom has either Shami or Siraj been considered seriously for captaincy.

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India, thus, have to continue with Rohit as the Test captain for the time being. At the same time, they need to identify a group of leaders and start grooming them from the very next series.

After the home series of five Test matches against England in January and February 2024, India’s next Test assignment will be against Bangladesh in September and October 2024. That would be the perfect opportunity for a change of guard if required. Pant will be the front-runner for Test captaincy in my opinion, while Gill can be groomed as his deputy.