On Saturday evening, Virat Kohli shockingly announced that he has decided to step down as India’s Test captain with immediate effect. This announcement comes just a day after India had been beaten by South Africa by a 2-1 scoreline in a 3-Test series.
India had gone to South Africa with the ambition of registering their maiden Test series on South African soil. By winning the first Test in Centurion, they were on their way to achieving their dream.
However, Dean Elgar’s team turned the tables around in style, winning in Johannesburg and Cape Town, both by chasing totals over 200 with 7 wickets left in each of the two wins.
Virat Kohli first captained India in Test cricket in 2014, against Australia, and has been at the helm since. Kohli led India in 68 Tests, out of which they won 40 – the most by an Indian captain – lost 17 and drew 11.
Under Kohli, India became the first Asian Test side to beat Australia in Australia in 2018/19; India registered another series win down under last year with Ajinkya Rahane filling in for Kohli in the last three Tests of that series.
India also lead the unfinished series in England by 2-1 with the last Test of the series to be played next year. However, now India would play that Test under a different captain.
In his statement, which he posted on social media on Saturday, Kohli thanked former coach Ravi Shastri and the support staff and former captain, MS Dhoni, as well.
“To Ravi Bhai (Ravi Shastri) 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,” Kohli wrote.
With Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun, Kohli groomed a world-class fast-bowling attack that won India a number of matches away from home.
Virat Kohli stated that he has “absolute clarity in my heart” about the decision to relinquish his Test captaincy.
India’s next Test series is at home versus Sri Lanka next month. Rohit Sharma, who had replaced Kohli as captain in white-ball cricket, was earlier named as the new Test vice-captain replacing Ajinkya Rahane. However, Sharma missed the South Africa tour due to injury and KL Rahul led India in the second Test when Kohli was injured.