Is it right time for Virat Kohli to bow out of captaincy of white-ball team?


Virat Kohli (ANI Photo)

Rohit Sharma era of captaincy is here as after he was formally announced as the skipper for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, beginning November 17

Our Bureau

Virat Kohli had stepped down as the skipper of the T20I side. Kohli had the T20 World Cup as his last assignment as skipper in the shortest format of the game. Kohli’s tenure as Indian captain in T20I came to end after the side rounded off the Super 12s stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 with a resounding nine-wicket victory over Namibia in Group 2. Kohli had announced before the start of the ongoing T20 WC that he will be stepping down as captain of the India T20I side. With India suffering heavy defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand in the opening two matches in the showpiece event, there were speculations over Kohli’s future as the captain in the other two formats as well.

Now, the All-India Senior Selection Committee on Friday picked the squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand. In the squad announced, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in the first Test in Kanpur which is scheduled for November 25. Virat Kohli will join the squad for the second Test in Mumbai and will lead the team. The Mumbai Test is scheduled for December 3rd. As expected, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Rohit Sharma have been given rest by the BCCI.

Virat Kohli had spoken after his last game as T20I skipper – against Namibia – that it was time to manage his workload. The run-machine had also mentioned the “heavy workload” and the pressure it had created on him.

“Relief firstly (on leaving T20I captaincy). It’s been an honour but things need to be kept in the right perspective. I felt this was the right time to manage my workload. It’s been six or seven years of heavy workload and there is a lot of pressure. The guys have been fantastic, I know we haven’t got the results here but we have played some really good cricket,” he had said.

But the Rohit Sharma era of captaincy is here as after he was formally announced as the skipper for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, beginning November 17.

Ajinkya Rahane (ANI Photo)

KL Rahul has been named as vice-captain. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Harshal Patel, Venkatesh Iyer, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel have also been named in the squad. Gaikwad and Iyer had good showing in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and hence they have been rewarded. Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami have all been rested for the T20I series against New Zealand as these players have been on the road since June this year.

Hardik Pandya has not been named in the squad and it is not known whether he has been rested or he has been dropped from the squad. Hardik did not bowl against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, and he returned to bowling action in the second game against New Zealand.

New Zealand will play a T20I series and then follow it up with two Test matches. The T20Is will be played on November 17 in Jaipur, November 19 in Ranchi and November 21 in Kolkata. The two Tests will be played in Kanpur (November 25-29) and Mumbai (December 3-7).

Meanwhile, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag said Virat Kohli should not leave the captaincy of the rest two formats — Test and ODIs — after the latter played his last T20I as a skipper on Monday. “This is Virat’s decision but I don’t think he should leave the rest two format’s captaincy. If he wants to play just as a player, it is his decision. I feel under his captaincy, India is playing good and his record as a captain is brilliant,” said Sehwag on his official Facebook page, reacting to a fan’s question on whether Kohli’s should step down as skipper altogether.

In the meantime, Kohli has said he will stop playing cricket the day his aggression and intensity decreases on the field. “That (his aggression) is never going to change. The day it does, I’ll stop playing cricket. Even before I became captain, I have always loved to contribute in some way or the other. Surya didn’t get much game time in this World Cup, so I thought it will be a nice memory to take back. That was the idea (behind not batting himself),” he said.

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