It's official: Virat Kohli to quit as India's T20 captain

© Provided by The Times of India

MUMBAI: At 5.53 pm on Thursday, three days after first reported that Virat Kohli will step down as white-ball captain after the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, the top batsman put out a message on social media and announced that he has decided to step down as T20 captain after the tournament in UAE.

It can be confirmed that the decision is Kohli’s alone. The BCCI has not asked him to quit in any format. On Monday, when TOI reported about Kohli making up his mind to quit as captain, it was categorically mentioned that this was a decision being contemplated by him, considering he wanted to give himself space and time to concentrate on his batting.

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Kohli added in his social media post that he needs to give himself “space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket” going forward.

However, team sources said: “If Virat wants to go back to being the best batsman in the world – a space he ruled like no other batsman across formats – then he will need to relinquish ODI captaincy too.

Because to become the world’s best will need all his time, energy and focus.”

The BCCI said in a statement: “Virat Kohli has decided to step down as captain of the T20I side after the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021.

Kohli will continue to be available for selection for the T20 format post the upcoming ICC event in 2021, which is hosted by the BCCI in UAE and Oman.”

BCCI secretary Jay Shah added in the statement, underlining the TOI report, “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 T20I Captain after the upcoming World Cup. I have been in discussions with Virat and the leadership team for the last six months and the decision has been thought through. Virat will continue to contribute as a player and as a senior member of the side in shaping the future course of Indian cricket,”

Considering one-day cricket is not so ‘relevant’ at the moment, with two back-to-back T20 World Cups the main focus, Kohli knows he can wait to take a fresh call on the 50-over format in the near future. For now, Kohli has stuck to quitting T20Is as captain and the BCCI will have to take a call on who they should hand it over to after this year’s World Cup, also keeping in mind the 2022 edition of the tournament.

White-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma, one of the leading ODI batsmen in the world with three double-centuries to his credit, and the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) most successful skipper with five titles, is the front-runner for captaincy right now, and rightly so.

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