Kohli steps down as India Test captain
Cape Town: Virat Kohli on Saturday dropped a bombshell by quitting Test captaincy, a day after India suffered an unexpected series-defeat against a second-string South Africa.
Kohli signed off as India’s most successful captain 40 wins in 68 Tests after being given the reins of the side back in 2014 when M S Dhoni stepped down in the middle of the series against Australia.
Arguably the biggest ambassador of the five-day game, Kohli took India to new heights in his tenure which saw the team become a force to reckon with in all conditions.
Kohli made the announcement in the backdrop of his tense relations with the BCCI which removed him as ODI captain after the star batter himself decided to leave T20 captaincy.
A massive controversy erupted when BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and chief selector contradicted Kohli’s claims that that he was not asked to stay back as T20 captain.
“Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now,” Kohli wrote in a statement which he posted on Twitter, taking everyone by surprise.
“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey but there has never been lack of effort or lack of belief.” Interestingly, when Kohli had quit T20 captaincy, he had also posted his message on social media.
“It’s been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I have done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there,” he wrote in his statement.
Kohli led India to the top of the world rankings and during his tenure, the team recorded memorable series wins in England and Australia.
He is the fourth most successful captain in history of Test cricket (who have led in at least 20 Tests) in terms of wins behind Greame Smith (53 wins in 109 matches) Steve Waugh (41 wins in 57 games) and Ricky Ponting (48 in 77 games).
In what turned out to be his last series as captain, Kohli was at the centre of controversy during the third Test in South Africa as he vented his anger into the stump mic after a close DRS call for LBW went in favour of opposition skipper Dean Elgar.
“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,” he said.
He hasn’t had the best of relationship with the BCCI of late but took the opportunity to thank the establishment in his statement.
“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,” he said.
He didn’t forget to thank former coach Ravi Shastri with whom he made a very successful combination and the legendary Dhoni for their contribution.
“You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi bhai 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,” he signed off.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah and treasurer Arun Dhumal acknowledged Kohli’s massive contribution to India’s stellar run in the five-day format.
“Congratulations to @imVkohli on a tremendous tenure as #TeamIndia captain. Virat turned the team into a ruthless fit unit that performed admirably both in India and away. The Test wins in Australia & England have been special,” wrote Shah.
“Congrats @imVkohli for a great tenure as captain. You have been a phenomenal leader and beyond doubt the most successful Indian captain be it home or overseas.I wish u great success in future and I’m sure you’ll keep contributing with your top class batting for team India,” wrote Dhumal.