Monday 17 January 2022
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Kohli grows bitter over loss of position

Former Team India cricket captain has contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, alleging that the board did not communicate to him on the issue of relinquishing his T20I captaincy. He challenged reports that he said he would opt out of the ODI leg of the South tour. India’s Test captain threw his weight behind the newly-appointed white-ball captain, Rohit Sharma, though.

“I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on the 8th (December) for the Test series,” Kohli said at the press departure.

“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. I was never told not to give up T20I captaincy. 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’. In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That’s what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all,” said Kohli.

Ganguly, however, said that the BCCI had requested Kohli not to step down as T20I captain. “We (BCCI) had requested Virat not to step down as T20I captain. There was no plan to change captaincy. But he stepped down as T20I captain and the selectors decided not to split limited-overs captaincy, opting for a complete separation,” the BCCI president had said, adding: “Bottom line is that there can’t be two white-ball captains.”

It was previously reported that the board had not had communication with Kohli, as the selectors changed ODI captaincy and appointed Rohit. Three months ago, while relinquishing T20I, citing workload management, Kohli had expressed his desire to continue as Test and ODI captain.

Kohli confirmed his availability for the three ODIs in South that would follow the three-Test series, starting 26 December. “I was and am available for selection all the time. All these people, writing lies, absolutely not credible,” he said. Talks of him opting out of the ODI series, as Rohit would miss the Test series due to an injury, saw conspiracy theories abound on social media. The first ODI is on 19 January.

Kohli completely shut out the dressing-room rift rumours. “No problem between me and Rohit. I have grown tired of explaining that over the last two-and-a-half years. Rohit is a very able captain. Tactically very sound. And Rahul bhai (Dravid) is a great man-manager,” said Kohli. He accepted the BCCI’s decision to remove him from the ODI captaincy. “BCCI took the decision from a logical point of view. I can understand that. We didn’t win an ICC trophy,” said the Test skipper, offering his full support to the team and adding: “None of my actions would be to degrade Indian cricket, as long as I’m playing the game.”

Reacting to the controversy over the past and present cricket stars, journalist Abhijit Majumder wrote on Twitter: “No comparison between Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli. Even at height of (his) persecution, Ganguly didn’t hold a press meet. Bhajji, Sehwag, Zaheer, Kaif, Yuvi — careers Dada helped build — backed him. Kohli whining for just losing the captaincy. He damaged colleagues. So, no one backs him.”

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