Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell said India are very well served on the leadership front and backed vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to step-up and fill the void in Virat Kohli's absence during the forthcoming Test series.
Kohli will return home on paternity leave after the first Test of the Australian summer as he awaits the birth of his first child in early January, which will leave Rahane with the responsibility of the side for the last three games.
There are doubts expressed by prominent voices whether India will be able to cope-up without their driving force in Kohli. For Chappell, however, Rahane is a wonderful replacement available to the visitors.
"As far as captaincy is concerned, I saw Ajinkya Rahane captain in one Test match against Australia when Australia were in India a few years back and it was the deciding Test match. And I was very, very impressed with Rahane’s captaincy," he said while speaking to Michael Holding on the West Indies fast bowling great’s YouTube channel.
"I thought he was very positive, very aggressive. When the game was in the balance, he always took the aggressive option and he batted well at a time when India were probably going to win anyhow but things had got a little bit shaky. And he came in and took on Pat Cummins and took them home to victory."
With Kohli injured, Rahane managed the side admirably in what was a high-pressure series decider for the Indian team back in 2017. The middle-order mainstay showed fantastic resilience and tactical nous in Dharamshala, helping India win and maintain their home dominance over the Aussies.
"At least, they have got a very good replacement captain. And the other thing is if Australia, I don’t think they will do this, if Australia thinks that ‘Kohli is gone home and all we have to do is turn up’, if they think like that, it will be a big mistake. I don’t think they will be complacent," Chappell said.
Kohli the batsman maybe an irreplaceable entity, but Chappell thinks depth in the Indian line-up will always keep the Australians on their toes.
"He [Kohli] will be a big loss but they have got some very good young batsmen. India, of all the international countries, is producing very good young batsmen and that’s been the case for a while now."
"And if the young blokes take the attitude: ‘alright, Kohli is gone, so this is a great opportunity for me to win myself a permanent place in the Indian side’, then it augurs well."
"Yeah, no one is going to totally replace Kohli but, as you know, in a team, when you lose a star player, everybody else has got to do that little bit extra and you can make up for it," he signed off.
(Inputs from HT)