After losing the test series against Australia and losing 7 tests overseas consecutively, India's future looks dark. Everyone is putting blame on the bowlers, seniors but the largest part of the blame has been forced on India's most charismatic and successful skipper, the man with the midas touch until July 2011, MS Dhoni. Dhoni has been banned from playing in the 4th test at Adelaide due to slow over rate. In that case Sehwag will lead the Indian side to restore some pride. But with talks of replacing India's test skipper, who would captain India's test team if Dhoni would indeed be replaced? Who can be the next captain for India in tests?
Sehwag- The first name that comes to the mind is Sehwag. Since Sehwag is slated to lead the side in Adelaide, we will come to know whether he is able for the job or not. Sehwag has always been India's vice captain and has captained only when the skipper is injured or rested. Sehwag has so far captained India in 3 tests against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and New Zealand. He has won 2 and drawn 1. He averaged 28 in these matches as against his career average of 50.93. 2 out of 3 matches were played abroad indicating why the average is down. Well though his short captaincy record is n't bad at all, I still feel giving the reins to Sehwag would not be a step in the future. He himself is 34 years old and add to that he is not in good form. A captain should be confident at least about his own performance. Dhoni is suffering because he himself is not scoring runs and Sehwag too should therefore be not made the captain.
Gambhir- Gautam Gambhir can be another potential candidate. With age on his side and successful captaincy in limited overs for India, he can be handed over the captaincy. Gambhir has never captained India in tests but has captained India in ODI's. He has led India in 6 ODI's and has won all 6 of them, 5 at home and 1 abroad. He averages 90 in these matches with 2 hundreds. Add to that the IPL experience where he led Kolkata Knight Riders for the first time to play-offs in 4 IPL's so far. But again even Gambhir is suffering from the same lack of form problem. With lack of form comes lack of confidence and thus such a guy cannot be an inspiring leader. Gambhir's technique against fast bowlers is being questioned and even his place in the side is under doubt. So maybe even he is not the right man to be given the captaincy.
Kohli and Yadav- I will discuss their cases together for both are very young players who have just set foot in the test arena. If India go the South Africa way maybe we can see one of these 2 as captains. South Africa after failing to qualify in the 2nd round in the 2003 world cup appointed a very young Graeme Smith as captain who was not even a surety in the playing eleven at that time. South Africa was successful under Smith and rose to the top of rankings twice. So even India can go this way. But given the state of Indian cricket and the pressure an India captain has to handle maybe this won't be a very good decision. If one of these young lads fail at captaincy their career would be destroyed and India would lose 2 very talented cricketers. They need to be nurtured and helped to establish themselves in the test arena.
Zaheer- Zaheer khan might be another prospective candidate. He has never captained India in ODI's or tests. He is 34 year old and might not be a step into the future. But he has brilliant form on his side. 5 years ago India were in a similar state when Dravid left the captaincy and Dhoni was the leader in limited overs cricket. But for tests he was not considered suitable as yet. At that time 37 year old Kumble stood up. He was in good form and had never captained the side before. India played well under him and he was the man who took India very close to the no.1 spot. Dhoni was nurtured under him for 2 years and after that Dhoni finally took over the reins from him and captained India successfully. Similarly we can appoint Zaheer as captain. He is a clever bowler who has a sharp cricketing mind and respect not only among his team but all around the world. And like in the Kumble period, a young Kohli can be nurtured for a couple of years under him and can then be handed over the captaincy.
So for me if Dhoni is sacked from test captaincy then Zaheer Khan would be the appropriate choice for 2 years.