LEAVING BCCI with red face ahead of Indian team’s big ticket trip to South Africa, skipper Virat Kohli On Wednesday, the chairman of the board openly contradicted Sourav Ganguly‘s version of events behind T20 International’s change of captain in October, saying no one had asked him to stay in the post when he decided to quit due to workload issues.
Speaking to reporters during the pre-trip press conference, Kohli also said he was told of his subsequent removal as ODI captain “an hour and a half before the selection meeting” on December 8 for the test series.
The test captain rejected reports that he would opt out of the ODI part of the South Africa tour, and threw his weight behind the newly appointed limited-overs skipper Rohit Sharma and ruled out any discrepancy between them.
“Before I quit as T20I captain, I had approached BCCI and explained the reasons behind my decision. It was very well received. There was no insult or hesitation. Mujhe yeh nahin kaha gaya tha ki aap T20 kaptajnskab na chodiye (I was not told not to give up the T20 captain). Rather, it was taken as a progressive step in the right direction. I announced at the time that I would like to continue as test and ODI captain unless the officials and voters felt that I should not continue with this responsibility. My communication (to BCCI) was clear, ”Kohli said.
On December 9, former India captain Ganguly had told Indian Express: “We (BCCI) had asked Virat not to resign as T20I captain. There was no plan to change captain. But he resigned as T20I captain and the voters decided not to split the limited-overs captains and opted for a complete separation. “
Referring to BCCI’s decision to hand over the T20I and ODI captain to Rohit Sharma, Ganguly had said: “The bottom line is that there can be no two whiteball captains.”
On the day of the announcement of the ODI captaincy, a top BCCI official had told it Indian Express that there was no communication with Kohli about the change.
All eyes on the after-effects
Virat Kohli has for the first time expressed his dissatisfaction with the way in which the change of leadership has been handled by BCCI and voters. His remarks come at a time when the team is embarking on a tough tour to South Africa. All eyes will now be on how the test captain’s comments affect the mood and spirit inside the locker room.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Kohli said: “Whatever was said about the communication that took place during the decision that was made was inaccurate. I was contacted an hour and a half before the selection meeting on the 8th for the test series.”
He said: “There was no prior communication to me at all since I announced the T20 captain’s decision until December 8, when I was called up before the selection meeting. The chief selector (Chetan Sharma) discussed the test team with me, which we both agreed on. And before I finished the call, I was told that the five voters had decided that I did not want to be ODI captain, to which I replied, ‘okay, fine.’ And in the selection call afterwards, we talked briefly about it, and so it happened. there was no communication at all prior to that. “
It is not the first time in recent months that the 33-year-old’s comments have rattled the board. Following India’s defeat to Pakistan at the T20 World Cup in October, then Mohammed Shami faced abuse on social media because of his religion, the skipper publicly firmly defended the bowler, even though the BCCI remained silent.
“For me, attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing a human being can do. Everyone has the right to express their opinion on what they feel about a particular situation, but I personally have never ever thought of discriminating against anyone because of their religion. It is a very sacred and personal thing for every human being, ”Kohli had said.
Speaking of the South Africa series on Wednesday, Kohli confirmed his availability to the three ODIs following the three-test series starting on 26 December. “I was and I am available for selection all this time. Honestly, do not ask me this question. This question should be asked to people who write about these things and their sources, for as far as I am concerned, I was always available. I have not had any communication with BCCI to say I want to rest, ”he said.
Kohli dismissed speculation about a locker room, saying: “No problem between me and Rohit. I’ve grown tired of explaining it over the last two and a half years. Rohit is a very skilled captain. Tactically very responsive. And Rahul bhai (Dravid) is a great man-manager. “
Kohli said he has accepted BCCI’s decision to remove him from ODI captain. “BCCI made the decision from a logical point of view. I can understand that. We did not win an ICC trophy,” said the test skipper. He offered his “absolute support” to the ODI team, saying: “None of my actions would be to degrade Indian cricket as long as I play the game. “
The BCCI has not responded to Kohli’s recent comments.
After several years of smooth transitions, BCCI issued a surprise in its press release to announce the test squad for the South Africa series. The last line of this release read: “The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to appoint Mr. Rohit Sharma as captain of the ODI & T20I teams in the future.”
Faced with a backlash online – Kohli has 45.3 million followers on Twitter – the board responded with a “Thank you, Captain” tweet.
Ironically, Ganguly was about to receive the last major leadership controversy in Indian cricket. In 200, his leadership was taken away under harsh circumstances after then-coach Greg Chappell demanded a change. Ganguly was replaced by Dravid.