Virat Kohli on Thursday announced that he would step down as India’s T20 captain after the T20 World Cup that commences in the United Arab Emirates on October 17. Kohli chose a social media platform to make the announcement, paving the way for split captaincy in Indian cricket.
“Understanding workload is a very important thing… I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI Cricket,” said Kohli, whose leadership has been the subject of mounting speculation in recent months. “I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October,” he added in a Twitter post. The decision paves the way for Rohit Sharma to captain in the shortest format. Kohli’s statement mentioned Rohit Sharma as “an essential part of the leadership group”, all but anointing the latter as his successor in the shortest format. Kohli, 32, of late hasn’t been at his peak as a batsman in Tests, a format which he adores. For close to two years now, Kohli hasn’t scored a long-form century and made 563 runs at 26.80 in 12 Tests during this period. Still, calling time on his T20I captaincy, as he said, was a tough decision.
According to the sources Kohli went to the selection committee with a proposal that Rohit be removed from the ODI vice-captaincy as he is 34. He wanted the ODI vice-captaincy to be handed to K L Rahul with Rishabh Pant performing the role in the T20 format. “This didn’t go down well with the Board which believes that Kohli doesn’t want an actual successor,” a Board source said. For now – Board & Selectors have decided to give T20 Captaincy to Rohit Sharma with Pant, Rahul and Bumrah are choice for T20 vice-captaincy.