Former Australia skipper Ian Chappel hailed the leadership abilities of Team India Tests vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Chappell called Rahane a very good replacement captain for Virat Kohli, who will return to India after the opening Test match against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Kohli has been granted the paternity leave for the birth of his first child. In his absence, Rahane is expected to lead Team India in the remaining three Tests Down Under.

Chappell recalled the memory of Rahane leading the Indian team in 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy match after Kohli injured his shoulder and was ruled out of the final Test in Dharamsala.

“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 great’s YouTube channel.

It was the first time, Rahane was captaining the Indian cricket team in Tests, but he stood up to occasion and led them to an eight-wicket win, as India clinched the four-Test series 2-1.

“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,” said Chappell.

“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 added.

Kohli’s absence is expected to put up a lot of pressure on other senior batsmen in the team like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see who will bat the crucial no.4 position after Kohli’s departure, many former cricketers and critics have backed KL Rahul to take over responsibility in the middle.

Chappell further feels that in Kohli’s absence will provide a great opportunity to the young batsmen to win a place for themselves in the Indian team.

“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,” he said.

“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 concluded.