BCCI asked Virat Kohli to continue as T20I captain, says chief selector Chetan Sharma

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Virat Kohli was replaced as ODI captain by Rohit Sharma.
Virat Kohli was replaced as ODI captain by Rohit Sharma.

Sharma said the selectors always wanted one skipper for the white-ball format, and nobody forced Kohli to step down as the T20I captain


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Published: Fri 31 Dec 2021, 8:41 PM

A fresh controversy erupted in Indian cricket on the last day of the year when Chetan Sharma, the chairman of All India Senior-Selection Committee, contradicted Virat Kohli’s claim that the Indian cricket board never asked him to reconsider his decision to quit T20 captaincy.

Sharma said the selectors always wanted one skipper for the white-ball format, and nobody forced Kohli to step down as the T20I captain.

Earlier, Rohit Sharma replaced Kohli as the white-ball captain. Sharma backed Sourav Ganguly’s statement, saying that along with the BCCI president, the selectors asked Kohli to reconsider his decision to quit the T20I captaincy.

Sharma’s remarks came as he announced India’s squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa. In the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul will lead the ODI side with pacer Jasprit Bumrah acting as his deputy.

“It was Virat’s decision, nobody told him to quit the T20I captaincy. Once he quit the captaincy of T20I, the selectors have to think. We felt there should be one captain for the white-ball format because it will be easy for the selectors to plan things. We did inform him regarding this,” said Sharma during a virtual press conference.

“The decision to appoint new ODI captain was taken by the selectors. As soon as the selection committee reached a decision, I immediately called up Virat. It was a Test selection meeting, we never wanted to inform him in that selection committee, so that is why I called him when our meeting was over and I told him that this is what selectors think and there should be one white-ball captain. We had a good chat,” he added.

When asked whether there is confusion between the board and Kohli, Sharma said: “There is no confusion. There is no communication problem between the board, selectors, and the players. You can only inform the captain when the selectors are on the same page. I alone cannot take the call, as soon as we reached the decision, we informed Virat Kohli. When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody that Virat decided to leave the T20I captaincy. We never wanted any controversy.

“Whoever was a part of the meeting asked Virat to reconsider his decision to leave T20I captaincy, it was asked that for the sake of Indian cricket, consider the decision to leave T20I captaincy as the World Cup was so near. We thought this conversation could have been had after the T20 World Cup, we respect Virat Kohli and his decision. Everybody told him to think about leaving T20I captaincy,” he added.

Sharma also said that Kohli remains a very important player for the Indian team.

“Virat is a very important player. We want him to play for India and keep scoring runs as the team revolves around him. We just wanted to go forward with one white-ball skipper. It was a hard decision but the selectors have to take hard calls,” he said.

“We gave time to Rohit and Virat, they can just get into the system of how to go about things. There is no communication problem at all, the ODI team was selected today. That day we announced the Test team. Virat was told to continue as the T20I captain for the sake of Indian cricket. We were in shock when he announced his intention to step down,” he added.

Earlier, a day after Kohli was removed as the ODI captain, Ganguly had told ANI that he had indeed spoken to Virat regarding the leadership change adding that he had requested Virat to also not give up the T20I captaincy.

“It’s a call that the BCCI and the selectors took together. Actually, the BCCI had requested Virat to not step down as the T20I skipper but obviously, he did not agree. And the selectors then did not feel it right to have two different captains for two white-ball formats,” Ganguly had told ANI.

“So it was decided that Virat will continue as Test captain and Rohit will take over as the white-ball captain. I as President personally spoke to Virat Kohli and the Chairman of selectors has also spoken to him,” the BCCI president had added.

But Kohli contradicted Ganguly in a press conference few days later, saying he was never asked to leave the T20I captaincy.

““When I told BCCI that I want to give up T20I captaincy, it was accepted really well. There was no hesitancy. I was told that it was a progressive step. I informed at that time that I would like to lead in ODIs and Tests. The communication from my side was clear but I had also informed that if the office bearers and selectors don’t think I should lead in other formats then that is fine,” Kohli had said in the press conference.

Indian squad for South Africa ODI series:

KL Rahul (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj

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