Waning dressing room support, Board issues behind Kohli's decision

back icon
safari
16 Sep 2021 | 05:34 PM
authorPTI

Waning dressing room support, Board issues behind Kohli's decision

Some of Virat Kohli's decisions did not go down well with some of the players which put his white-ball captaincy under pressure

Virat Kohli's decision to quit India's T20 captaincy after next month's World Cup is certainly an act of self-preservation in terms of getting his mojo back with the bat but at the same time, the development seems to be a sign of things to come in the ODI set-up.

While Kohli has maintained that he would remain captain in the other two formats, one can't say with absolute certainty that he will be India's 50-over skipper going into the 2023 World Cup at home.

While workload management is an absolutely acceptable reason for quitting T20 captaincy but if one looks at India's calendar till 2023, there are just about 20 bilateral T20 games apart from the World Cup in which Kohli won't be captain.

"Virat knew that he would have been removed from white ball captaincy. If the team doesn't do well at the UAE World T20, he was gone for good as far as white ball leadership is concerned," a BCCI insider, in the know of things, told PTI.

"He just reduced a bit of pressure on himself as it would seem that he is there on his own terms. It might not happen for 50 overs if the performance in T20 hits a downward spiral," he said.

So, if the BCCI decides on relieving Kohli from the 50-over captaincy as well in near future, one shouldn't be surprised as this is Indian cricket and fortunes change faster than what anyone can keep up with.

A trophy-less T20 World Cup and Kohli might just have to play as a pure batsman in the 50-over format also. There are no marks for guessing that even in the dressing room, Kohli's deputy Rohit Sharma is considered as a "leader", who has effectively learnt to take a young troop along, having done that year after year for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

It is one of the worst kept secrets in Indian cricket that 'King Kohli', for some time, has not exactly enjoyed the full support of the dressing room. His style of functioning, according to those who have watched him closely, borders on autocracy with very little room for inclusiveness. Be it playing two spinners in the World Test Championship final at Southampton or not letting any player settle down in the No.4 position before the 2019 World Cup, his lack of flexibility has often been talked about in hushed tones.

More recently, in the Test series against England, the decision to bench world's No.1 off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin did stick out like a sore thumb even though India led 2-1. He did enjoy supreme authority before the Adelaide Test against Australia earlier this year. But the 36 all out and his subsequent paternity break changed a lot of things.

No one would say this openly but players felt more united than ever and were in a very happy space when they rallied to beat a full-strength Australia (unlike 2018-19), including a fabulous drawn game. By the time, Kohli rejoined the India set-up during the home series against England, he knew that the youngsters, who came of age, had empowered themselves with solid individual performances.

"The problem with Virat is his communication. In case of MS (Dhoni), his room would be open 24x7 and players could just walk in, play the PS4, have a meal and let their hair down and if required talk cricket. Beyond the ground, Kohli is literally incommunicado," a former India player, who has seen Kohli's early days of captaincy, told PTI during an informal chat.

"Rohit has shades of MSD but in a different manner. He takes the junior players out for meals, gives them a friendly pat on the back when they are down and knows the mental aspects of a player's make-up inside out," the ex-cricketer said.

When it comes to handling junior players, the biggest complaint against Virat is leaving them in the lurch when the chips are down.

"Kuldeep Yadav, after a five-wicket haul in Australia, went downhill. Ditto for Rishabh Pant when he wasn't in form. Umesh Yadav, a senior bowler, who is a workhorse on Indian pitches, never gets an answer on why he is not considered till someone gets injured?

"He speaks about communication at media conferences but this is the truth that he has hardly hand-held any player when they needed their captain the most," another cricketer, who is privy to Kohli's chop-and-change policy, said.

A senior BCCI official pointed out an interesting aspect of the Board's media release on Thursday.

"If you look at Sourav and Jay's statements, both have congratulated but not a word uttered if he would remain the captain till 2023 ODI World Cup. So, he would remain, is a far-fetched conclusion," he said.

It is learnt that head coach Ravi Shastri, who will step down at the end of T20 World Cup, has spoken extensively to him and Kohli will now concentrate on his original endeavour -- to surpass the 100 international hundreds scored by Sachin Tendulkar.

It would be difficult to reach 50 Test hundreds but with 44 in ODIs, he can surely rake up a lot more in his pursuit of that world record. It is also being said that Kohli went to the selection committee with a proposal that Rohit be removed from the ODI vice-captaincy as he is 34. He wanted the ODI vice-captaincy to be handed to K L Rahul with Rishabh Pant performing the role in the T20 format.

"This didn't go down well with the Board which believes that Kohli doesn't want an actual successor," a Board source said.

In the BCCI corridors, officials have figured that Kohli wants to safeguard his 50-over captaincy till the 2023 World Cup. However, it is reliably learnt that it might not happen as in the past few months, Kohli has managed to alienate more people -- the players, the support staff, the national selectors and last but not the least the board mandarins.

Pant, Rahul and Bumrah are choice for T20 vice-captaincy

The BCCI is in no hurry to announce the designated vice-captain for T20 captain-in-waiting Rohit Sharma after the T20 World Cup but there are three possible choices. One is Delhi Capitals skipper Pant, who if his team wins IPL, will be the biggest contender.

"Pant is a serious contender but you can't rule out KL also as he is an IPL captain. The darkhorse will be Jasprit Bumrah."

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
IndiaVirat KohliRishabh PantKL Rahul

Related Articles

safari
OPINION
No World Cup, but Kohli leaves behind a T20I legacy he should be proud of
Kohli’s overall numbers as a T20I captain could very well end up standing the test of time
userAnirudh Suresh
08 Nov 2021
safari
NEWS
Rohit set to lead in New Zealand T20Is; Gaikwad, Iyer set for call-ups
As per reports, Rohit Sharma is expected to lead the Indian team in home T20I series against New Zealand
userPTI
02 Nov 2021
safari
NEWS
Rohit Sharma should lead India in next two T20 World Cups: Sunil Gavaskar
The former India captain has also backed KL Rahul to be Rohit's deputy
usercricket.com staff
29 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
Decoded: Virat Kohli the white-ball captain
Is Kohli a great leader? Or do the numbers not actually tell the full story?
userAnirudh Suresh
24 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
Virat Kohli: An outstanding T20I skipper whose legacy rests on the T20 World Cup
India, under Kohli, have been quite a force in T20Is, but only a T20 World Cup will immortalize his legacy
userAnirudh Suresh
16 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
Virat Kohli to step down from T20I captaincy after 2021 World Cup
Kohli will remain India's ODI and Test captain as he cited workload management the reason behind his decision
usercricket.com staff
16 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
For both India and Kohli, split captaincy might be the need of the hour
Virat Kohli might be India’s greatest ever Test captain, but there is merit in looking beyond him as skipper for white-ball cricket
userVimal Kumar
13 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
Kohli set to hand over white-ball captaincy to Rohit after T20 WC - Reports
However, Kohli will continue leading India in Tests
usercricket.com staff
13 Sep 2021
safari
NEWS
Too early to talk about the team's batting line-up for T20 World Cup: Rohit
India replaced an out-of-form KL Rahul with pacer T Natarajan for the T20I series decider against England
userPTI
21 Mar 2021
safari
NEWS
Only one spot up for grabs in pace attack for T20 WC, rest sealed: Kohli
The Indian captain also backed the under-fire Rishabh Pant, saying he will be supported
userPTI
05 Dec 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved