CHENNAI: The mood in the Cape Town dressing room was already sombre on Friday. Another opportunity, arguably their best, to become the first Indian team to win a series in South Africa had gone begging. Even as the team and the support staff were coming to terms with it, Virat Kohli delivered one more blow – he was not going to continue as Test captain.
And nearly 24 hours later, out came the confirmation with Kohli tweeting his farewell message. “It's been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I've done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it's now," Kohli tweeted.
India’s most successful Test captain ever with 40 wins -- he stands fourth in list of captains with most wins -- one who retained the Test championship maze for six years, will no longer be the skipper. Only four months after relinquishing the T20 captaincy in order to ‘give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket’ Kohli has had enough.
Within the team, though the initial reaction was that of shock, it is not something that came out of the blue. In fact, ever since a couple of senior players expressed reservations about his authoritative style of functioning, those in the dressing room have revealed how the 33-year-old has seldom been his usual self. Moreover, the tussle with the board officials too has played it's part. Apart from disagreeing with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly for the manner in which he was sacked as ODI captain, it is reliably learnt that the board officials have stopped communicating with Kohli. To put in simple terms, he longer enjoys the backing of the BCCI, which past Indian captains have had.
Although the BCCI was not looking to remove him given his unmatched credentials as Test captain, Kohli therefore seems to have decided to step down at a moment of his choosing. That he no longer has his trusted lieutenant Ravi Shastri too would have made the decision a lot easier.
Kohli leaves a huge void to fill as the Test team, unlike the limited-overs doesn’t have a ready-made captain in waiting. One of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma is likely to be crowned the new Test captain.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)