INDIA’S TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA, 2021-22
Kohli had earlier denied that anyone discouraged him from giving up the captaincy. © BCCI
Chetan Sharma, India’s chief selector, admitted on Friday (December 31) that the decision to replace Virat Kohli as the skipper of the ODI team was taken by his panel following the 33-year-old’s decision to relinquish T20I captaincy. Chetan also clarified that everyone present at the meeting – selectors as well as BCCI president Sourav Ganguly – had requested Kohli to reconsider his decision.
“It was the decision of the selectors to have one white-ball captain,” Chetan said on the sidelines of the squad announcement for the three-match ODI series in South Africa.
“It was a hard decision, but selectors have to take hard decisions. You take hard decisions even while making the Playing XI. I know Virat is an important player for us in the coming days and coming years.”
Chetan said that Kohli’s announcement just ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup to relinquish India’s 20-overs captaincy post the global tournament came as a shock for the selectors and the board officials present at the meeting. Kohli had earlier denied that anyone discouraged him from giving up the captaincy for the shortest format only hours after BCCI President Sourav Ganguly claimed to have done it.
“When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everyone. With the World Cup coming up, that news surprised us,” Chetan said. “Everyone in the meeting said that you should think about your decision and we can speak about it after the World Cup. We all felt that it will affect the [performance at] World Cup. It was told to Virat, for the sake of the Indian team, please continue as the captain.
“Everyone present there said that – the selectors as well as the board officials who were there… He has his fans. We respect him if he has taken a decision, but back then everyone asked him to think about it.”
The chairman of the selection panel further added that once Kohli had given up T20I captaincy, the selectors had to take a call on his ODI future as well, of which they informed him after having a meeting among themselves.
“As soon as the selection committee came to the point (of having one white-ball captain), I called up Virat in the afternoon. Because it was a Test selection, we didn’t want him to inform him in the selection meeting. After the meeting, we informed him that there will be one white-ball captain. We had a good conversation and he agreed with us.”
More to follow…