Tributes pour in as Virat Kohli decides to leave white-ball games captaincy

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Indian skipper Virat Kohli (ANI Photo)

Former India cricketer Vinod Kambli feels opening batsman Rohit Sharma will be India’s skipper in the T20Is after the 2021 World Cup

Our Bureau
Dubai

India skipper Virat Kohli has decided to step down from T20I captaincy after the ICC T20 World Cup in November this year. Kohli explained his decision to leave the T20I captaincy in a statement on Twitter. The India skipper said he needs to give himself space in order to play all three formats for the country. “I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but also lead the Indian Cricket Team to my utmost capability. I thank everyone who has supported me in my journey as the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team,” Kohli said in a statement.

“I couldn’t have done it without them — the boys, the support staff, the selection committee, my coaches, and each and every Indian who prayed for us to win.

“Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all 3 formats and captaining regularly for last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian Team in Test and ODI Cricket. I have given everything to the Team during my time as T20 Captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward,” he added.

Kohli said he arrived at his decision after discussing with head coach Ravi Shastri and opening batsman Rohit Sharma. “Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I’ve decided to step down as the T20 Captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October,” said Kohli.

Virat Kohli bats during the 4th day of the Fourth Test match between England and India at The Oval, in London (ANI)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced that while Virat Kohli has decided to step down as captain of the T20I side after the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, he will continue to be available for selection for the T20 format post the upcoming ICC event in 2021, which is hosted by the BCCI in U.A.E. and Oman.

“We have a clear roadmap for Team India. Considering the workloads and ensuring that we have smooth transition, Virat Kohli has decided to step down as T20I captain after the upcoming World Cup. I have been in discussions with Virat and the leadership team for the last six months and the decision has been thought through. Virat will continue to contribute as a player and as a senior member of the side in shaping the future course of Indian cricket,” BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said. Kohli explained his decision to leave the T20I captaincy in a statement on Twitter. The India skipper said he needs to give himself space in order to play all three formats for the country.

Former India skipper Ganguly termed Kohli a “true asset” for Indian cricket and said the decision has been made keeping in mind the future roadmap. “Virat has been a true asset for Indian Cricket and has led with aplomb. He is one of the most successful captains in all the formats,” Ganguly said in a BCCI statement.

“The decision has been made keeping in mind the future roadmap. We thank Virat for his tremendous performance as the T20I captain. We wish him all the best for the upcoming World Cup and beyond and hope that he continues to score plenty of runs for India,” he added.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan on Thursday termed Virat Kohli’s decision to leave T20I captaincy after the 2021 T20 World Cup as an “unselfish” one.

After Virat Kohli announced to step down as India’s T20I skipper after the upcoming World Cup, Cricket analyst Ayaz Memon lauded the captain’s decision.

Ayaz Memon said Kohli could have “easily” taken out the time before making the call but he has taken a stand and this thing is “admirable”. “Virat Kohli announcing that he is going to step down as the T20I captaincy after the T20 World Cup in the UAE was a surprise yet it wasn’t. Stories were swirling around the BCCI looking for somebody else to take over from Virat, particularly Rohit Sharma who has had experience in white-ball cricket. Virat has an exceptional record in bilateral T20 cricket also, in fact, it is a little better than MS Dhoni,” Ayaz Memon told ANI.

“Fewer number of matches but he has been very successful except in ICC trophies, that has not happened with Virat. His own batting form would have been weighing on his mind so he has decided that he is not going to be the T20 captain team that is what is announced.

“He has announced that he would not captain the T20 team in future irrespective of whether India wins the World Cup or not, I think it is admirable because he could have easily taken out the time and say let me see if I win and then I will continue, but he has taken a position. But having said that, it does not mean he is the captain for the other formats because that is up to the selectors,” he added.

Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the 3rd day of the Fourth Test match between England and India (ANI)

Former India cricketer Vinod Kambli feels opening batsman Rohit Sharma will be India’s skipper in the T20Is after the 2021 World Cup. “Now Virat is stepping down from captaincy, I feel Rohit might get a chance. Virat will now play to his full potential as there will be no pressure on him. I want Virat to play freely,” Kambli told ANI. “I feel Rohit will take over as India’s captain in T20I after World Cup because he has led Mumbai Indians to win many times,” he added.

Kohli on Thursday announced that he would step down as the T20I skipper of the national side after the T20 World Cup slated to be played in the UAE in October-November this year.

He will continue to be available for selection for the T20 format post the upcoming ICC event in 2021, which is hosted by the BCCI in UAE and Oman.

“Now everyone will see, Virat’s talent in the T20I. I am looking forward to India, Pakistan clash in World Cup, the pressure and eagerness to perform well in those matches is immense,” said Kambli.

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Kohli’s five best T20 knocks

Virat Kohli has led India to some memorable wins in the shortest format of the game and while he is set to step down as T20I skipper after the ICC T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman, let’s take a look at some thrilling victories under his leadership.

  • India vs Australia, Second T20I in Sydney in 2020: Kohli smashed 40 off 24 balls as India defeated Australia by six wickets to win the T20I series. Australia had set a daunting target of 195 but the then India skipper despite a slow start rose to the occasion and led from the front to take the visitors home.
  • India vs New Zealand, Third T20I in Hamilton in 2020: Opting to bat, India were three down for 96 in 11 overs. But Kohli slammed 38 off 27 balls to take India to 179. The Indian skipper might not have played some breath-taking shots but his calm approach helped India reach 179 in 20 overs. New Zealand scored 179 in 20 overs and the game went to Super Over with India coming out triumphant.
  • India vs New Zealand, Third T20I in Wellington in 2020: Three days later India and New Zealand again met in a T2OI and the match went down the wire as New Zealand managed to reach 165 in 20 overs. Kohli might not have played a good knock but the thrill and aggression he exuded on the field were enough for the visitors to be charged up for another exciting Super Over. And, again India defeated New Zealand in Super Over to register a noteworthy win.
  • India vs England, Third T20I in Bristol in 2018: This is one of the most memorable T20I wins under Kohli’s captaincy. Chasing 199, Kohli came out to bat when India was 62-2 in the sixth over. While Rohit Sharma smashed a sensational ton, Kohli accompanied the opening batsman with a 29-ball 43 before getting out. India chased down the target with 8 balls left as Kohli added another win to his cap.
  • India vs England, Second T20I in Nagpur in 2017: While opening for India, Kohli didn’t have a good time with the bat as he scored 21 off 15 balls but the skipper did impress with his captaincy skills. Chasing 145 in 20 overs, England was cruising towards victory but Kohli didn’t give Jasprit Bumrah the ball in the middle overs and saved his two for the death.

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