Mumbai: India Test skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said the BCCI never asked him to reconsider quitting T20 leadership as claimed by the Board and his removal from ODI captaincy happened 90 minutes before the team’s selection for the upcoming South Africa tour. At the pre-departure press meet before the South Africa tour, the Indian […]
Mumbai: India Test skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said the BCCI never asked him to reconsider quitting T20 leadership as claimed by the Board and his removal from ODI captaincy happened 90 minutes before the team’s selection for the upcoming South Africa tour.
At the pre-departure press meet before the South Africa tour, the Indian skipper took all the tough questions head on and said that he would put his full support behind new white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid’s “vision”.
He said he understands that not winning an ICC white ball trophy led to his removal. “Whatever was said about the communication that happened about the decision that was made was inaccurate,” Kohli said with obvious reference to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s statement about the Board requesting him not to quit as split captaincy might not work in the white-ball format.
“I was contacted one and half hours before selection meeting on 8th for Test series and there was no prior communication to me at all since I announced my decision on T20 captaincy. Tthe chief selector discussed the Test team to which we both agreed. Before ending the call, I was told that the five selectors have decided that I will not be the ODI captain to which I replied ‘okay fine’,” the 33-year-old added as he recalled the sequence of events.
“In the selection call afterwards we chatted about it briefly and that’s what happened.” The discord between Kohli and the BCCI mandarins came out in the open when he was asked the next question. But you had only stated that you wanted to remain captain till 2023 ODI World Cup? “Was it a question?” Kohli smiled.
“Yes, it is a question because you had only said you wanted to remain India’s ODI captain?,” the reporter again asked. “When I left the T20 captaincy, I had first approached BCCI and intimated them of my decision and laid down my point of view in front of them (office bearers). I gave the reasons why I wanted to quit T20 captaincy and my view point was received very nicely. There was no offence, no hesitation and not for once was I told that ‘you should not leave T20 captaincy’,” Kohli said, in complete contradiction to what Ganguly had stated a few days earlier.
Ganguly had stated that Kohli’s decision to not reconsider giving up T20 captaincy prompted the selectors to go for Rohit as the sole white-ball skipper as two different captains in the two formats would have led to “too much leadership.”
‘Rohit is able captain and will have my support’
“Tired” of quelling never-ending speculation about a rift with Rohit Sharma, Kohli described his white-ball successor as an “able and tactically sound” captain, who will have his complete backing as a senior player.
Asked how he sees his role under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, Kohli said: “My responsibility is obviously to push the team in the right direction, something that I’ve always looked to do even before I became captain, so that mindset has never changed and it will never change. But Rohit is a very able captain and tactically very sound. We’ve seen that in the games that he has captained for India and in the IPL as well. So is (Rahul) Dravid bhai, who’s a very, very balanced coach, great man manager.
“Both of them will have my absolute support and my contribution in whatever vision they set for the team and I will be there to support that 100 per cent and continue to be a guy who can push the team in the right direction going forward from here,” Kohli added.
‘We can do something special in South Africa’
South Africa is the final frontier that the Indian Test team is yet to conquer but skipper Kohli firmly believes that his side can do “something special” in its upcoming tour of the Rainbow Nation with a maiden series win there.
“We are very well placed in terms of experience, belief and confidence that this time around we can do something special and get the results that we want as a team and overcome probably the toughest conditions to go and win a series,” Kohli said.
“South Africa is one place where we have not won a series yet. So we are very motivated to do that. And the mindset is always to go there and win a series in any country that we play. We don’t anymore think of just winning a Test here and there and we will do our absolute best that we can as a team and make sure that we keep contributing towards that cause,” he added.
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