The jury is still out on Virat Kohli’s decision to step down from T20I captaincy post the World Cup later this month, and, along with the announcement polarising opinions, it has also given risen to various theories on why the skipper would have taken the decision, what would have led to it and what the consequences of it could be.
Speculations of a rift between Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been floating around for a while despite the fact that the top brass has always insisted on the fact that both the superstars of Indian cricket are on the same page. Moreover, Kohli has acknowledged Rohit as part of the leadership group as well in his note on captaincy yesterday, yet that has not convinced many regarding the power struggle in the Indian cricket setup.
As per a report in PTI, Kohli had recently gone to the selection committee with a proposal to remove Rohit Sharma as the vice-captain of the ODI team as he is 34. Kohli, himself 32, argued that KL Rahul should be looked at for that position keeping in mind the long-term prospect and have Delhi Capitals’ skipper Rishabh Pant as his deputy in T20.
While the report does not name anyone specific but quotes a board official stating, “This didn’t go down well with the Board which believes that Kohli doesn’t want an actual successor”.
The report does not further elaborate on this sensational claim.
Be that as it may, with Kohli specifically naming Rohit Sharma alongside Ravi head coach Ravi Shastri in the note, there is no doubt on who will take over the mantle from Kohli post the World Cup whether Kohli wants it or not. Kohli also mentioned in the note he needs space to lead the team in ODIs and Tests, but there is still a lot of ambiguity on whether Kohli will remain the ODI skipper by the time the 2023 World Cup comes along. Rohit Sharma will be 36 by the time, but hey, if he proves his worth as the T20 skipper and manages to win a silverware, something Kohli has not been able to do in his 8-9 years at the helm, who is to say that Sharma will find himself leading the ODI outfit in two years’ time.
The report further adds, “Virat knew that he would have been removed from white ball captaincy. If the team doesn’t do well at the UAE World T20, he was gone for good as far as white-ball leadership is concerned,” a BCCI insider, in the know of things, told PTI.
“He just reduced a bit of pressure on himself as it would seem that he is there on his own terms. It might not happen for 50 overs if the performance in T20 hits a downward spiral,” he said. So, if the BCCI decides on relieving Kohli from the 50-over captaincy as well in near future, one shouldn’t be surprised as this is Indian cricket and fortunes change faster than what anyone can keep up with.