Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

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Gautam Gambhir feels Virat Kohli, who was sacked as ODI skipper, doesn’t need to do anything different just because he won’t captain the Indian ODI side going forward.

The selectors opted to replace Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma as Team India’s ODI skipper after the former gave up the T20I captaincy on his own. However, with Rohit Sharma ruled out of the ODI series against South Africa due to a hamstring injury, KL Rahul will be leading the side in his place.

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

Gautam Gambhir Reckons Virat Kohli Will Continue His Dream To Win Games For India In Post Captaincy Period

During a discussion on the Star Sports show Game Plan, Gautam Gambhir was asked whether the fans are going to see a new Virat Kohli. The three-match ODI series between South Africa and India starts on January 19.

The upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa will be Virat Kohli’s first assignment in 50-over cricket since his removal as captain last month. Although the 33-year-old quit the T20I captaincy, the selectors opted to replace him with Rohit Sharma as India’s ODI captain.

However, it is to be noted that Rohit Sharma won’t be available for the ODI series due to an injury. While fans are curious to see how Virat Kohli reacts to this shift, ex-India opener Gautam Gambhir opined on this and said that ‘captaincy is nobody’s birthright.’

He responded: “What new do you want to see? Captaincy is not anyone’s birthright. People like MS Dhoni have given the captaincy baton to Virat Kohli, he has played under Virat Kohli as well. He has won three ICC trophies and four IPL trophies as well.”

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

The former India cricketer added that Virat Kohli’s sole focus should be on scoring runs and winning matches for the Indian team.

Gautam Gambhir elaborated: “I think Kohli should look to score runs and that is more important. When you dream of playing for India, you don’t dream to become a captain. You dream of winning games for India and nothing changes, except that you are not going out there to do the toss and set the field placement, but your energy and intensity should remain the same because it’s an honor playing for the country.”

Virat Kohli will hope to silence all his critics with his performances with the bat during the ODI series against South Africa. He will also want to end the long wait for an international century from his blade.

Gautam Gambhir: Apart From Winning Toss And Setting Field Placements, Everything Will Be Same

Gautam Gambhir was also asked about the role he sees Virat Kohli playing going forward.

He replied: “Exactly the same what he had when he was captaining the side. Batting at No. 3, scoring lots and lots of runs and probably anchoring the innings as well. When Rohit Sharma comes in with KL Rahul at the top of the order, Kohli’s role doesn’t change one bit.”

India's Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo
India’s Virat Kohli. Credit: Reuters Photo

The cricketer-turned-commentator concluded by reiterating that other than performing the captaincy duties, the expectations would be the same as earlier from the former India skipper.

Gautam Gambhir observed: “As I just mentioned apart from not going for the toss and setting the field placements, rest everything remains the same. He has got to bat at No.3, he has got to score a lot of runs in white-ball cricket. So I am sure, I think nothing changes.”

While Kohli may not have scored an ODI century over the last couple of years, he still had an excellent record in the format. The Indian batting mainstay amassed 560 runs at an impressive average of 46.67 in the 12 ODIs he played in 2020 and 2021 and breached the 50-run mark on seven occasions.

It is to be noted that India’s current number three batter in limited-overs cricket hasn’t played an ODI for quite a long time. His last one-day game was against England in March 2021. After losing the Test series by 2-1, India and Kohli wouldn’t want to return home empty-handed and thus, would try their best to win the ODI series.