Virat Kohli has announced his decision to step down as Indian men's Test captain through a post on social media this Saturday evening.
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the Indian team lost the three-match Test series 1-2 to sixth ranked South Africa. According to Indian Express, Virat informed his team-mates of his decision after the loss in Cape Town on Friday, but asked them not to share the news with anyone till he makes the announcement himself.
After being handed India's Test captaincy by MS Dhoni midway through the 2014-2015 Australian tour, Virat has led the team in whites in 68 matches, of which the team has won 40, lost 17 and drawn 11. Kohli signs off as India's most successful Test skipper, in terms of victories.
"It has been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honest and left nothing out there. Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it’s now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief. I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s night the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team," writes Virat in the note he posted on social media.
The most notable victories from the time under Kohli will be the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy win, where India won a Test series in Australia for the first time and leading 2-1 in England in the 2021 series apart from reaching the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Southampton in the same year. He also took the Indian team to the number one ranking in Tests apart from overseeing the development of the pace-attack reaching a world-class level and fitness being given prime importance.
"I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful," adds Virat in the note.
"To Ravi Bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test Cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life," writes Virat thanking Ravi Shastri and the support staff team that was a large part of his dressing room when he was captain.
"Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a Captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian Cricket forward," says the former Indian skipper to the player who handed him the Test captaincy in 2014. MS Dhoni was the Indian skipper when the 2014-15 Test series in Australia started but he stepped down midway with Virat Kohli being named the Test captain.
In September 2021, Kohli had announced that he would be leaving the T20I captaincy after the Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE. He had also stepped down as the captain of IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the completion of the second half of the tournament in the UAE. Two months later, in December, Kohli was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain.
It will be interesting to see who becomes the next Test captain of India with Rohit Sharma having been named Virat's deputy for the South Africa series before he was ruled out due to injury. KL Rahul captained India in the second Test in South Africa when Virat was ruled out of the game due to a back spasm.
The Indian team next plays a Test series, against Sri Lanka, at home in February-March.
(With inputs from IANS)