Virat Kohli Photograph:( AFP )
Virat Kohli has announced his decision to step down as India's T20I captain after the World Cup. Are the ardent Indian cricket fans content with the timing of his decision or it could've been revealed after the marquee event?
Virat Kohli has stunned the whole cricketing fraternity by announcing his decision to step down as India's T20I captain after the upcoming World Cup in UAE.
On Thursday (September 16), the 32-year-old tweeted, "I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but also lead the Indian Cricket Team to my utmost capability. I thank everyone who has supported me in my journey as the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team."
"I couldn't have done it without them - the boys, the support staff, the selection committee, my coaches, and each and every Indian who prayed for us to win. Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all 3 formats and captaining regularly for last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian Team in Test and ODI Cricket. I have given everything to the Team during my time as T20 Captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward."
"Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I've decided to step down as the T20 Captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October. I have also spoken to the secretary Mr Jay Shah and the President of BCCI Mr Sourav Ganguly along with all the selectors about the same. I will continue to serve Indian Cricket and the Indian Team to the best of my ability."
While talks were rife that Kohli should step down as limited-overs captain or at least get rid of the responsibilities from the shortest version due to his inability to lead India to an ICC title since taking over fully in early 2017, the criticism always seemed a bit harsh. After all, 'a captain is only as good as the team'. However, talks intensified after India lost the WTC final in mid-2021.
Moreover, Kohli's form across formats hasn't been at a level his fan clubs are used to. The maverick cricketer has set supremely high standards courtesy of his unmatched zeal for success, jaw-dropping consistency, strong will and fitness. Keeping all this in mind, his recent dip in form has become a topic of debate worldwide. For the unversed, his last international ton came in late 2019.
To add to it, cricket in COVID-19 times hasn't been easy, to say the least. Bio-bubble life, strict quarantine rules, being away from family for months or staying confined with them on tours has affected someone as mentally strong as Kohli.
While some may say that Kohli's decision was long due, his timing does trigger some panic among the Team India fans.
As the current all-format skipper has made it clear that he won't leave captaincy duties before the T20 World Cup -- which is praiseworthy -- a section of fans are already wondering if the timing of the decision can create adverse consequences. Here are some glaring questions which arises after Kohli's recent decision:
1) Could Kohli have announced his decision after the world cup, irrespective of India's campaign?
2) Clash of views? With Rohit Sharma very likely to succeed Kohli, he will want more say in decision-making even during the World cup. The leadership group already stars Kohli, Ravi Shastri (head coach) and MS Dhoni (team mentor). While Rohit was anyway going to be a part of crucial decisions, will he have a larger say, leading to varied opinions?
3) What if Kohli manages to lead India to the coveted title? Will he reconsider? Given that the superstar cricketer remains firm on his stance at all times, it is highly unlikely. But, it can lead to more talks regarding the timing of his decision.
For now, Indian fans have to believe that there is proper communication among the senior team management. However, India's T20 World Cup performance will now be measured more closely. If the Men in Blue fail to win the trophy, the timing of Kohli's latest decision might raise eyebrows; leading to his naysayers having plenty to scrutinise.