Virat Kohli on Thursday announced he will step down as India’s T20 captain after the T20 World Cup in UAE but will continue to lead the side in ODIs and Test cricket.For some time, there has been speculation about Kohli’s future as white-ball captain especially in the backdrop of Rohit Sharma’s brilliant track record of winning five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians.
“I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October,” Kohli said in a statement posted on his Twitter page. He further added “Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five to six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead Indian team in Test and ODI cricket. I have given my 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.
Perhaps, for the first time in his captaincy career, Virat Kohli is feeling the heat. He is astute enough to see the writing on the wall where the backing for the captain by the powerful BCCI officials have diminished considerably in the last couple of months.since Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI retirement and Dhoni’s Test captaincy retirement were announced by the board’s press release) and explained the reasons behind quitting T20I captaincy. And largely you get his point, however, a deep look and putting it in the context of a power struggle in Indian cricket, there are many contradictions in his statement and it does appear that more than anything else, Kohli is trying his best to safeguard his own position as a dominant force in Indian cricket.
Is this workload behind the real reason for stepping down from T20I captaincy? Really? In the last decade, Kohli has played just 90 T20Is which is roughly 9 matches per year in the shortest format of the game. Definitely, not a huge workload if you consider that he plays around 15 matches of IPL every season inside two months, which, goes without saying the toughest on the body for any cricketer and all the more taxing for a captain. So, if someone who wants to keep himself fresh and fit, shouldn’t he be willing to give up his franchise’s captaincy (that he has not been able to lift a trophy in eight years for Royal Challengers Bangalore is a different story altogether) and sustain his India captaincy career in that format?
A very unselfish decision, says Michael Vaughan
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has backed Virat Kohli’s decision to give up India’s T20 captaincy after the World Cup, saying that this will release some pressure off the superstar cricketer’s shoulders.
“Well Done… that’s a very unselfish decision and also one which will give you some nice space to hopefully relax a little away from all the pressures,” Vaughan replied on Kohli’s Instagram post.Kohli has a 27-14 win-loss ratio as India’s Twenty20 captain, while his Royal Challengers Bangalore team continue to chase their maiden IPL title.
Virat Kohli has yet to win a ICC trophy under his captaincy but the team’s series win under him in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England and West Indies will remain the highlights of his leadership tenure starting 2017.As of now, opener Rohit Sharma remains the frontrunner to replace Kohli as the captain of India in the shortest format. While the Indian cricket board is not in any hurry to name a successor now, Rohit, IPL’s most successful captain with 5 titles, is likely to be elevated as India’s Twenty20 skipper.