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Chetan Sharma breaks silence on ODI captaincy saga, recalls ‘chat’ with Kohli

Chetan Sharma's comments come after Virat Kohli's explosive press conference ahead of the South Africa tour, where he revealed that he was not requested to not step down as T20I skipper in October

India’s chief selector Chetan Sharma addressed the press conference for the announcement of India’s three-match series against South Africa, which begins on 19 January. While KL Rahul was named the Indian captain in the absence of Rohit Sharma, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been named his deputy. In addition, Virat Kohli is also a part of the squad.

In his first media interaction since a rather controversial press conference from Kohli ahead of the South Africa where the Indian Test skipper delved deeply into his removal from the leadership role in the format, Chetan Sharma cleared the air on the decision-making process and his interaction with Kohli on the same. 

The chief selector said that there had been formal communication between him and Kohli over the captaincy decision and insisted that the selectors wanted one skipper for the -ball format.

“That was actually Virat’s decision (to leave leadership role in T20Is) and nobody told him to quit captaincy. Once he quit the captaincy, selectors had to think because we believed there should be one captain for the -ball. That would be easy for selectors to plan things and we did inform him regarding this,” Sharma told the media.

“As soon as the selection committee came to the point, they discussed (the captaincy switch). I immediately called up Virat on that afternoon. It was a Test selection meeting and we didn’t want to inform him during that. As soon as our meeting was over, we informed him that this is what selectors think, that there will be one -ball captain. There were a couple of questions and we had a good conversation and he agreed to that.”

Sharma further said that Kohli is “a very important player” for Indian cricket and that the team “revolves around him.”

“I can’t disclose what we discussed but we had a good chat. Virat is a very important player for Indian cricket. We want him to play for India and keep getting runs because the team revolves around him. But when it comes to planning about -ball captaincy, the selectors decided that we must have one captain and one red-ball captain. 

“He was the red-ball captain already and he came to the meeting at around 5:30 and we informed him. We just want to go forward to that.

“It is a hard decision for selectors. We have to take such decisions. Same is when you make a playing XI; we need to make hard decisions. He took that decision. He is going to be very important player for us.”

Chetan Sharma’s comments come after Virat Kohli’s explosive press conference ahead of the South Africa tour, where he revealed that he was not requested to not step down as T20I skipper in October. A day after Rohit Sharma was appointed the captain — thus assuming a full-time leadership role in the limited-overs format — BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had revealed that the board had urged Kohli to not leave the captaincy in the shortest format, but the latter “did not agree.”

“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 -ball formats,” Ganguly had told ANI.

Following the difference in statements between Kohli and Ganguly, there had been calls from the cricket fraternity for Chetan Sharma to hold a press conference to provide clarity and transparency on the situation.

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