New Delhi: Virat Kohli needs to put his ego aside to play under a new leader after quitting the Test captaincy, former India captain Kapil Dev said. Kohli, 33, announced his decision to step down from captaincy duties late on Saturday having already quit as T20 captain last year in September and been sacked as skipper of the one-day side soon afterwards.
Kapil Dev, who led India to glory in the 1983 World Cup, hailed Kohli’s decision, saying he was “going through a rough time” and “appeared to be under a lot of pressure”.
But he said that Kohli will now have to knuckle down and bite his tongue if he is to remain in the team under a new captain. “Even Sunil Gavaskar played under me. I played under K Srikkanth and (Mohammad) Azharuddin. I had no ego,” Kapil Dev told Mid-Day newspaper, referring to other greats of the era.
“Virat will have to give up his ego and play under a young cricketer. This will help him and Indian cricket. Virat should guide the new captain, new players. We cannot lose Virat, the batsman… no way.”
The race to become the next captain of India after Kohli is seen as a contest between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and young Rishabh Pant.
TV commentator Harsha Bhogle in a tweet on Monday said “ There are four captaincy options in my view, which isn’t a bad state of affairs. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are more talked about. But two fine thinkers in Ashwin and Bumrah also reside in the team if the need materialises.”
Rohit Sharma, 34, is already leading the T-20 and ODI side, and has led the Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles. With Rohit injured, Rahul, 29, led India in the recent second Test in South Africa and will also lead the one-day side in the upcoming series starting on Wednesday.
Kohli and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly in December were seen having different views over his stepping down as white-ball captain.