Kohli has quit on his own terms

Bent over the stump microphone, Virat Kohli yelled in frustration. That moment was captured and went viral on social media.

Published: 20th January 2022 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2022 07:38 AM   |  A+A-

Former India captain Virat Kohli. (Photo | AP)

Bent over the stump microphone, Virat Kohli yelled in frustration. That moment was captured and went viral on social media. The photograph at another level, was quite poignant and touching—one of India’s most powerful cricketers talking to the mike, all alone. A couple of days later, Kohli announced his decision to step down as Test captain—the only leadership role he was holding—too. The brand of cricket Kohli represented—at times vitriolic and acerbic, yet something that produced results and more often than not a positive one—met a quiet end. Kohli never liked to hide behind a facade or false pretence.

Right from verbal mutterings on the field to those animated shows of emotion whenever a wicket fell or a victory was cornered, Kohli tried to portray himself. With a don’t-give-a-damn attitude, he crafted his trade and carved out an enviable record as a Test captain. With 40 wins in 68 Tests as captain, Kohli is the fourth-most successful red ball skipper in the history behind only Graeme Smith (53), Ricky Ponting (48) and Steve Waugh (41). He also had an enviable overseas track record.

Then something changed. Even before the South Africa series started, there was wild speculation regarding the future of Kohli, nothing unusual in this murky world of the Indian cricket board. His trusted mentor Ravi Shastri and his coaching staff left. Kohli stepped down from T20 captaincy after a dismal T20 World Cup (he announced it before the event). He was removed as captain of the ODI team, something that did not go down well with the skipper who always wanted to be in control.

Former India skipper, Rahul Dravid, was appointed as coach. All of a sudden, fissures started to appear in the pedestal Kohli was occupying. In between, he took on the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly too and that was considered suicidal. A back spasm forced him out of the crucial second Test, again this is something new for him—a supremely fit athlete missing a match due to fitness issues. And add to that his form—he has not scored a hundred in any format—everything indicated that time’s up. This time Kohli would not have wanted to hear about losing Test captaincy from the board. Whatever it is, Kohli quit two of the three captaincies on his own terms.


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