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Friday, January 21, 2022

When Virat Kohli predicted Rohit Sharma as a future India captain for first time | Cricket News

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made the bold decision to sack Virat Kohli as the captain of the ODI side with T20 captain Rohit Sharma take over the reins. Rohit has also been appointed the vice-captain of the Test side, replacing fellow Mumbaikar Ajinkya Rahane.   

Rohit took over the T20 captaincy from Kohli after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 and will now lead both limited-overs side. The Mumbai Indians captain had first become a part of the leadership group in 2017, when he was named Kohli’s deputy before the Sri Lanka tour.

But Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Kohli had seen a future captain in him back in 2013. While speaking at an event eight years back, Kohli had named Rohit as one of the contenders to take up captaincy apart from him and Dhoni, who was leading the team in all formats back then.

“Rohit has a tremendous cricketing brain. I often take his advice during matches. He has shown his capability while leading Mumbai Indians in the IPL,” Kohli said on being asked about who can lead the team apart from him and Dhoni.

Kohli had joined Team India’s leadership group in 2012 and made his captaincy debut next year. Kohli finishes his ODI captaincy career with 65 wins in 95 matches. He piled up 5,449 runs at 72.65 in 50-over cricket as captain.

Meanwhile, the BCCI, it is learnt, waited for the last 48 hours for Kohli, who has already relinquished T20 captaincy, to voluntarily step down from ODI leadership as well but he did not. By the 49th hour, losing the position to Rohit Sharma was simply ‘fait accompli’.

Perhaps, in the most telling way of telling someone that his time was up, Kohli’s sacking was not even addressed by the BCCI statement, which merely stated that the selection committee has decided to name Rohit captain of the ODI and T20I teams going forward.

Kohli lost his captaincy. Just like that. The BCCI and its national selection committee sacked the decorated Kohli, who perhaps harboured the ambition of leading India at home in the 2023 ODI World Cup.

The moment India were ousted from the T20 World Cup at the group league stage, Kohli’s leadership epitaph was written but the BCCI mandarins wanted to give the captain of last four and half years an honourable exit route.

In the end, it seems Kohli dared the BCCI to sack him, the parent body went ahead and did exactly that and the once all-powerful skipper had no other option but to accept it.

Kohli’s cycle of leadership has been a fascinating story in itself. He started as a brash captain in-waiting under the ever so-cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took him under his wings and groomed him well enough before he was convinced that it was time to give him white-ball captaincy and at least two years to prepare for a World Cup.

(with PTI inputs)

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