Even as speculations are rife about what led to Virat Kohli suddenly stepping down as T20 captain, it has come to light that several batsmen expressed reservations over playing under his captaincy in the wake of the World Test Championship final.
According to reliable sources, at least a couple of batsmen had raised the issue to Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah over the treatment meted out to them in recent times.
While the situation looked calm before the team left for a long UK tour in the month of June, it is understood that the defeat to New Zealand in Southampton changed a lot of things. India, who were considered favourites to win the World Test Championship, lost the final after New Zealand's attack orchestrated a sensational batting collapse on Day 5 as they were bowled out for 170.
While the batting unit failed as a group, it is understood that fingers were pointed to the lack of intent showed by Cheteshwar Pujara, which brought New Zealand into the game on what was an overcast morning.
"If you don't put their bowlers under pressure then they have the fitness and the consistency to bowl long spells and keep bowling all day in the same areas and trouble you, and the more momentum you give them, then invariably they get the breakthroughs they want. The mindset has to be to score runs and find ways to score runs. You can't be too worried about getting out because you are [then] bringing the bowler into the game completely," Kohli had said at the end of WTC final.
According to sources, following the batting collapse, some of the batsmen including the likes of Pujara - whose slow strike rate and lack of intent have been questioned previously by the captain - and Ajinkya Rahane (who was enduring a poor run of form) were pulled up by Kohli in the dressing room, which seems to have snowballed into a big issue.
While the team took a two-week break after the WTC final, it is reliably learnt that the two batsmen dialled the secretary personally, following which the BCCI seems to have stepped in.
It is understood that only after these phone calls did the BCCI seek feedback from a few other players and decided to act at the end of the tour. While Kohli attributed workload management as a reason to step aside as T20 captain, it is learnt that the BCCI will now decide on his 50-over captaincy after the end of the World Cup.
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