January 22, 2022

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Virat Kohli steps down as India#39;s Test captain

Virat Kohli stepped down as the captain of the Indian Test team on January 15, bringing the curtain down on a remarkable, and sometimes controversial, stint that saw him stamp his aggressive style on arguably one of the most demanding jobs in the world of sport.

His decision to step down as the Test skipper comes almost a month after he was ousted as the ODI captain following his decision to quit as the Twenty20 captain a few weeks earlier.

Kohli, who led India to several memorable victories overseas, couldn’t sign off on a winning note. South Africa on January 14 defeated India in the third Test, wrapping up the home series 2-1.

“It’s been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it’s now,” Kohli said in a statement shared on social media.

“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. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful,” he added.

The outgoing captain specifically acknowledged the guidance he received from the team’s former head coach Ravi Shastri and ex-captain MS Dhoni.

“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 Captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian Cricket forward (sic),” Kohli added.

The BCCI, in a social media post, thanked Kohli for his successful reign as the leader of Indian team in the red-ball format. Out of 68 matches in which he captained the side, India was victorious in 40, the cricketing body pointed out.

Kohli, 33, led the Indian team into the South Africa tour amid the controversy involving his exit as the ODI captain. He was replaced by Rohit Sharma on December 9, in what was seen as a shock announcement by the BCCI.

The decision was taken nearly three months after Kohli had stepped down as the T20I captain citing workload pressure.

In an explosive press conference before departing for South Africa, Kohli had told reporters that he was informed 90 minutes before the team’s selection that he would not be leading the ODI side.

“Whatever was said about the communication that happened about the decision that was made was inaccurate. I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on December 8 for the Test series and there was no prior communication to me at all since I announced my decision on T20I captaincy,” Kohli had said.

This contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s claim that Kohli was asked not to step down as T20I captain as the selectors wanted the same person to lead the team in both white-ball formats.

“We had requested Virat not to step down as T20 captain but he didn’t want to continue as captain. So, the selectors felt that they cannot have two white ball captains in two white-ball formats. That’s too much of leadership,” BCCI president and former India captain had told PTI.

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