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Cape Town, Jan 15: The inevitable came a bit early as Virat Kohli on Saturday quit as India’s Test captain, saying he did his job with “absolute honesty” and time was right to quit the leadership role.
Kohli’s announcement came a day after India suffered an embarrassing Test series defeat against South Africa.
Kohli was dealing with one controversy after another as he was recently removed as ODI captain by the BCCI after he decided to step down at Twenty20 captain. His decision to quit as Test skipper has come at a time when his relation with the BCCI is so strained that he preferred to announce his decision on social media.
Kohli was appointed Test captain back in 2014 when M S Dhoni stepped down in the middle of the series against Australia.
“Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now,” Kohli wrote in a statement which he posted on Twitter, taking everyone by surprise.
“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey but there has never been lack of effort or lack of belief.”
Interestingly, when Kohli had quit T20 captaincy, he had also posted his message on social media.
“It’s been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I have done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there,” he wrote in his statement.
Kohli led India to the top of world rankings and during his tenure, the team recorded a memorable series win in Australia.
He is the third most successful captain in history of Test cricket (who have led in at least 20 Tests) in terms of Test wins behind Steve Waugh (41 wins in 57 games) and Ricky Ponting (48 in 77 games). Kohli has 40 wins in 68 Tests in which he led India.
The 33-year-old said that perhaps he is now spent and no longer able to give 120 percent to the job.
“I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”
He hasn’t had the best of relationship with BCCI of late but took the opportunity to thank the establishment in his statement.
“I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision, I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation,” he said.
He didn’t forget to thank Ravi Shastri and MS Dhoni for their contribution. “You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life.”
“Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward,” he signed off.
In September 2021, Kohli had announced that he would be leaving the T20I captaincy after the Men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE. He had also stepped down as the captain of IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the completion of the second half of the tournament in the UAE. Two months later, in December, Kohli was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain.
It will be interesting to see who becomes the next Test captain of India. The team’s next Test assignment will be against Sri Lanka in a two-match series at home in February-March. (Agencies)