Was Not Told I Could Remain T20 Captain: Virat Kohli Refutes Sourav Ganguly
Virat Kohli clarified his side of things about the change in captaincy in white-ball cricket for India.
In an explosive press conference on Wednesday, 15 December, ahead of India’s tour of South Africa, Test captain Virat Kohli clarified his side of matters regarding captaincy, availability for the One Day Internationals (ODIs) in South Africa, and his relationship with Rohit Sharma.
While the relationship with Rohit has been an oft-discussed matter for over two years, Kohli’s sacking from the ODI captaincy and his availability for the ODIs have been among the hottest topics in the last one week in Indian cricket.
The Indian team will leave for South Africa on Thursday where they will play three Tests and as many ODIs.
Addressing the media virtually from Mumbai, Kohli said that he had not been asked to not give up his leadership in the T20s and further asserted that there had been no prior communication with regards to him being dropped from the post in the ODI format.
"I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on 8 December for the Test series. There was no prior communication to me at all since I announced the T20I captaincy decision until the 8th of December, where I got a call before the selection meeting. The chief selector discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed. And before ending the call, I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, 'okay, fine', and in the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That's what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all,” Kohli said.
"I have taken a lot of pride in being the Captain, I've done the best as I could. My motivation to do well will not dip at all. One thing I will say about captaincy is I have been absolutely honest to this job," said Kohli.
“I approached the BCCI first explaining my thought process and reasons. And at that point, it was received very well,” Kohli said. “There was no offence. There was no hesitancy. I was not told to not leave the T20I captaincy, rather it was received as a progressive call made in the right direction. I had also communicated that I would like to continue as the skipper in Tests and ODIs unless the office-bearers or the selectors feel I shouldn’t continue. This too was clarified on the call. So my communication with the BCCI was clear from that point on.”
The change of guard was officially announced on 8 December via a press release by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after which the board President Sourav Ganguly said that he had spoken to Kohli and discussed the matter as well. Ganguly had said,
"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 was quoted as saying by 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. We have full faith in Rohit Sharma's leadership abilities, and Virat will continue as the Test captain. We as BCCI are confident that Indian cricket is in good hands. We thank Virat Kohli for his contributions as captain in the white-ball format," the BCCI president added.
South Africa ODI Series
After the saga surrounding the change of captains, it was reported that Kohli will not play the South Africa ODIs as he wanted a break for some family time, specifically because the ODI series coincides with his daughter’s first birthday. It was reported by Times of India that Kohli had communicated that he could not participate in the ODI series.
However, on Wednesday, Kohli refuted those claims in no uncertain words making it clear that he would be available for selection.
"I was and I am available for selection all this time. You should not be asking me this question, honestly. This question should be asked to people who are writing about these things and their sources, because as far as I'm concerned, I was always available," said Kohli.
"I have not had any communication with the BCCI saying I want to rest, so there were a few things that came out in the past as well that it was said I was attending some events or something that was absolutely not true either. All these people who are writing these things and their sources, to me they're absolutely not credible. As I said, I am available for selection for the ODIs in South Africa and I'm always keen to play," added Kohli.
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