By VoN Sports Team
Much has been said about India’s super batsman-captain Virat Kohli. Much of that has been negative. It has been said that Kohli has an attitude problem, is not a team person and often talks down to people. This doesn’t go down well in a team game, but is tolerated as long as you keep delivering. Once that tap runs dry, you suddenly realise that you have not really made many friends or influenced too many people, whatever your publicity team says in public.
That tap seems to have run dry for Kohli. He has not been able to bring home any ICC trophy, not even the IPL trophy for RCB. This was a gnawing problem, now it has become a big headache. For some, it was not a surprise that Kohli announced he will step down as India’s T20 captain after the T20 World Cup in the UAE. He, however, will continue to lead the side in ODIs and Test cricket.
Before we go to other aspects of this announcement, let us see what Kohli himself has said about this :
“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,” Kohli said in a statement on his Twitter page.
“I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October,” Kohli added.
Meanwhile, reacting to this, Sourav Ganguly, BCCI president, commented: “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 but has not won a single ICC Trophy. The decision has been made keeping in mind the future roadmap.” Ganguly’s comment in a board press release, of course, was tongue-in-cheek.
Jay Shah, secretary of the board, the main architect of all what happens today inside the BCCI, has said: “We have a clear roadmap for Team India. Considering the workloads and ensuring that we have a smooth transition, Virat Kohli has decided to step down as T20 Captain after the upcoming World Cup.”
KOHLI’S CAREER SO FAR
Debut ODI : Virat Kohli made his India debut in an ODI on August 18, 2008 against Sri Lanka in Dambulla, Sri Lanka.
T-20 Debut : T-20 debut on June 12 2010 against Zimbabwe.
Test Debut : His Test Debut on June 20 2011 against West Indies.
IPL Debut : In 2008 as a captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Rohit in the running
In the running for T20 captaincy is Rohit Sharma. His captaincy record is nil, but he is a much liked person within the team, and he a darn good batsman to boot.
The backdrop of the Kohli issue
Kohli had stepped into the shoes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. So far, these shoes have proved to be too large for Kohli. Dhoni has been the only captain in the history of Indian cricket to win all ICC trophies. Under his captaincy, India won the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
That is too big for Kohli and his attitude. It has gone against this super batsman from Delhi.
The changes had to happen, on September 12 Dhoni came back into the picture as the Indian Cricket Team’s “mentor”, appointed for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Mentor is a new role. That makes people think differently, though. Maybe there is a possibility that Dhoni can end up being the coach of the team as well, because current coach Ravi Shastri’s comes to an end after the World Cup in October-November.
With the nomenclature “mentor”, however, the BCCI seems to have its options open as of now.
The coach issue
As of now the coach issue is wide open. There is major talk that Anil Kumble – who had a coaching stint before too – has been approached, while Rahul Dravid seems to have refused to be involved, is rumours are to be believed. Whether there are other applicants is not clear, and anyway, the last date of applications was August 15. That date will, definitely, be extended, however.
Setback in IPL too
Kohli, it seems, is in a bit of a spot with his IPL team RCB as well. He has also announced that he will step down as RCB captain after IPL 2021.
This is what Kohli has said: “This will be my last IPL as captain of RCB. I’ll continue to be an RCB player till I play my last IPL game. I thank all the RCB fans for believing in me and supporting me.
“It was something that was on my mind as I recently announced stepping down as T20 captain to manage my workload which has been immense. I want to be clear about how I want to move forward. I have made it clear to the management that I can’t think of being in any other team apart from RCB.”
Kohli has played 199 IPL matches and scored 6,076 runs so far with five centuries.
Meanwhile, in the IPL 2021, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost by nine wickets to Kolkata Knight Riders. Chasing a paltry 93 for a win, Shubman Gill (48) and debutant Venkatesh Iyer (41 not out) stitched 82 runs for the opening wicket as KKR reached 94/1 in just 10 overs. RCB, electing to bat, were bundled out for 92 with Andre Russell and Varun Chakravarthy taking three wickets apiece for 9 and 13 runs respectively. Kohli managed 5 runs.
Shastri will go too
Shastri had refused any extension to his role as national coach. Whatever the personal equations and rumours, it cannot be debated that Shastri has been India’s most successful coach since Gary Kirsten. Shastri took over the role in 2017 and was reappointed in 2019.
Said Shastri : “My goal as a coach has been accomplished.”
Now, with Dravid seemingly having also refused, apart from Kumble, batsman VVS Laxman is also on the Board’s sight.
The BCCI is expected to also hire a new coaching staff ahead of the South Africa series which starts on December 17, 2021.
Kumble’s last stint – 2016 to 2017 – ended after serious differences with Kohli. With Kohli still leading the side in the ODIs and Tests, it will have to be seen if Kumble, a strict disciplinarian, agrees to take over again.
We’ll have to wait to see how this unfolds.
By VoN Sports Team