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Cricket

Was Kohli Under Pressure In The Series?

India’s best-ever Test captain with 40 wins from 68 Tests still had a choice to continue, but he didn't opt for it.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli used his judgment and went ahead and announced his decision to quit T20 and decided to keep ODI and Test captaincy. (Photo: ANI)

Did Virat Kohli perceive that his Test captaincy was under pressure during the Test series in South Africa? Did he preempt any conspiracy? Was Virat made to understand by the board that his services as a leader aren’t required anymore after the series loss? Did he stop enjoying captaining India in Test?

Understandably, Kohli was in no mood to stay on as Test captain after the South African series loss on Friday itself and subsequently informed his team and Jay Shah (BCCI secretary) about his graceful exit.

India’s best-ever Test captain with 40 wins from 68 Tests still had a choice to continue, but he didn’t opt for it. That is because he knew that he wouldn’t get a free run. So what if the BCCI was protecting Kohli from taking any impulsive decisions? So what if BCCI backed him because of his track record in the bilateral series? So what if both BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Shah told him to stay after they got to know that Kohli might give up the T20 captaincy?

Kohli used his judgment and went ahead and announced his decision to quit T20 and decided to keep ODI and Test captaincy. Even his man Friday Ravi Shastri saw that Kohli won’t be the most powerful man in Indian cricket anymore. He too opted out from continuing as the Indian head coach. He said that one “should not overstay the welcome”.

Kohli’s worst fear became a reality when the selectors told him that India won’t have two white ball captains. Who would have known that Kohli would take a call on his Test captaincy after losing the South Africa series — otherwise — the selectors could have waited a little longer for Kohli to quit ODI captaincy on his own — as he did in T20 and Test cricket.

In between, lots of things happened. Former captain Rahul Dravid agreed to become India’s head coach while Virat kept losing his clout in Indian cricket. That is because runs aren’t coming that fluently as they did before. His theatrics continued in full flow and nothing could help Virat to regain his lost ground.

Now, who takes Virat’s position ? Is it Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, or Rishab Pant? Hierarchy wise, Rohit, who plays all the formats for India, is an automatic choice, but his fitness is an issue, and burdening him with three formats may not be the best possible choice. India could also look at grooming Rahul or Pant. A bowler like Jasprit Bumrah or R Ashwin isn’t a bad choice either.

But since Indian cricket is at the crossroads, making a young Test captain is the need of the hour. That is because India’s focus in the next two years would be on white-ball cricket — the T20 World Cup in Australia and 50-over World Cup at home. Let’s wait and watch as the selectors unfold the next set of surprises!

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