IND vs SA: Indian skipper Virat Kohli has announced on Twitter after India lost the Test series 2-1 against South Africa that he will be stepping down from Test captain as well with immediate effect.
In his tweet, Kohli said: “It’s been 7 years of hard work, toil, and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief. I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.
“I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi Bhai [Shastri] and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward.”
This retirement comes after a series of public exchanges between him and the BCCI. Virat Kohli announced his T20I resignation before the 2021 World Cup. However, BCCI also took away the ODI captaincy from him naming Rohit Sharma the white-ball skipper.
Ganguly’s statement, saying he had asked Kohli not to step down as T20I captain, was strongly denied by Kohli himself, saying that he “wasn’t told to reconsider” his decision.
Kohli also expressed his disappointment in the same press conference, saying he had been told about his removal as ODI captain just 90 minutes before the selection meeting to pick the Test squad for South Africa, and “there was no prior communication to me at all”.
Virat’s overall record as a captain was largely successful, as he took India to the No.1 spot. In 2021, he led India to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton. Overall, he steps down with the fourth-most wins as captain in Test cricket, with 40 wins from 68 games. Of the other 28, 11 were draws and 17 were losses.
Kohli’s tenure will also be remembered for a number of controversies, including a fall-out with then coach Anil Kumble in 2017, crossing swords with Steven Smith over DRS protocols when Kohli stopped short of labeling the then Australia captain a cheat, the recent face-off with the BCCI, and even more recently India’s outburst against the host broadcaster during the Test series in South Africa.
Sourav Ganguly on Virat Kohli’s stepping down as Test captain: “Under Virat’s leadership Indian cricket has made rapid strides in all formats of the game ..his decision is a personal one and Bcci respects it immensely ..he will be an important member to take this team to newer heights in the future. A great player. Well done @BCCI @imVkohli.”
Ravichandran Ashwin’s heartfelt tweet: “Cricket captains will always be spoken about with respect to their records and the kind of triumphs they managed, but your legacy as a captain will stand for the kind of benchmarks you have set. There will be people who will talk about wins in Australia, England, Sl etc etc,” he began.
“Wins are just a result and the seeds are always sown well before the harvest! The seeds you managed to sow is the kind of standard you set for yourself and hence set the expectations straight with the rest of us. Well done @imVkohli on the headache you have left behind for your successor and that’s my biggest takeaway from your stint as captain. “We must leave a place at such an altitude that the future can only take it higher from there on,” he concluded
While Sunil Gavaskar was not surprised at all by Virat’s decision: “I’m not surprised at all. But I had thought that it might have come at the presentation ceremony. But, maybe, it would have looked like it has come out of a sense of anger having lost the series. So, I think a little bit of gap and the decision has come,” Gavaskar said during a discussion on India Today.