Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Credits: Twitter)

Virat Kohli had giant shoes to fill with his predecessor MS Dhoni leading India to two World Cup titles but Virat Kohli carved his own niche during his stint as India’s captain. The 33-year-old, who led from the front with his attacking batting and was never shy of expressing himself on the field, stepped down as India’s Test captain on Saturday, pulling the curtains down on an eventful seven-year innings in the leadership role.

Under Virat Kohli, the Indian Test team rose to the top of the world rankings and also notched up its maiden series win in Australia in 2019. The series triumph against the Aussies perhaps underlined the leadership skills of Virat Kohli, who wore his heart on his sleeve. He signed off with 40 wins and 17 losses in 68 Tests as captain which is the best win percentage and most wins of any Indian skipper in Tests.

Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP
Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP

Virat Kohli Holds The Record Of Most Test Appearances -68 As Skipper

Virat Kohli’s exit from the leadership role also means that his 100th Test against Sri Lanka next month will be only as a batter looking to end a two-year-long century drought.

“It’s been seven years of hard work, toil, and relentless perseverance every day,” Kohli wrote in his statement mentioning that he was quitting the role.

Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh
Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh

His inability to win a world title drew criticism but Virat Kohli’s impressive captaincy numbers conceal those flaws. He holds the record for most Test appearances as skipper (68), and only Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh have won more matches than Virat Kohli as captain in the longest format of the sport.

Virat Kohli Can Go With His Head Held High Tweeted Ravi Shastri

As tributes poured in for the former Test skipper after his announcement, former India head coach Ravi Shastri reserved special praise, stating he can hold his head high for what he managed to achieve as Test captain.

“Virat, you can go with your head held high. Few have achieved what you have as captain. Definitely India’s most aggressive and successful. Sad day for me personally as this is the team we built together – @imVkohli,” tweeted Shastri.

The ‘Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri’ era came to an end following India’s lackluster performance in the 2021 T20I World Cup. Two early ‘Super 12’ defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand faltered India’s chances to advance to the last four, also pulling curtains down on Ravi Shastri’s coaching term.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli (Twitter/RaviShastriOfc)
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli (Twitter/RaviShastriOfc)

Virat Kohli hasn’t had the best of relationship with BCCI of late but took the opportunity to thank the Indian board in his statement. He also thanked MS Dhoni and Ravi Shastri for being the “engine behind this vehicle”.

“I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision, I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation.”

“To Ravi bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward,” Kohli further wrote.

Virat Kohli’s decision to retire comes after India was defeated by South Africa in the Cape Town Test by 7 wickets. The tourists slumped from taking a 1-0 lead to lose the series 2-1.

Last year, the 33-year-old had stepped down as the T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI leader later as the selectors wanted only one captain for the white-ball format. The 33-year-old led India in 68 games and won 40, becoming the country’s most successful Test captain in the process.