Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said that he was “shocked” and “really, really surprised” at Virat Kohli announcing his decision to step down as India’s Test captain in January.
Ricky Ponting also revealed that he had a chat with Kohli during the first half of the IPL 2021. Then Kohli had talked to the Australian, who is the Delhi Capitals coach, about relinquishing white-ball captaincy, but remained firmed on continuing as Test skipper.
Ponting reflected that Kohli loved leading in the longest format and was really passionate about it. Hence, his resignation as Test skipper, despite being India’s most successful one, took Ponting by surprise.
“Yes, it did actually (surprise me). Probably the main reason why is I had a chat and good catch-up with Virat during the first part of the IPL (2021) before it got postponed,” Ponting said in the first episode of ‘The ICC Review’.
“He was talking then about stepping away (from captaincy) from white-ball cricket and how passionate he was to continue on to be Test match captain. He just loved and cherished that job and that post so much. Obviously, the Indian Test team had achieved a lot under his leadership. When I heard it, I was really, really surprised.
“You only have to watch him on the field for an hour of the day’s play to realise how passionate he is about that job and the role, and how much he wants the team to win and how much he wants the best for Indian cricket. I was shocked,” Ponting added.
No other Indian skipper has captained India in more Tests (68) or won more matches (40) than Virat Kohli. India lost just five of the 24 series under his captaincy.
Under Kohli, not only India didn’t lose a single series at home – they lost just two out of 31 matches at home – but became a fierce force to reckon with away and registered some memorable wins, most of which was their first Test series win in Australia in 2018-19.