Virat Kohli | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli | Photo Credit: AP

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Virat Kohli’s move to step down from the role of India’s Test captain drew accolades from the cricket fraternity. It perhaps was a bittersweet end to Virat Kohli’s captaincy sojourn as India lost the Test series to Proteas, which saw the Test contingent scale new heights in home and away conditions.

The 33-year-old Virat Kohli signed off as India’s most successful captain in the format, with 40 wins in 68 Test matches. He helped the side to a historic Test series win in Australia and took them to the top of the ICC Test rankings. He also holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68).

Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]

Kapil Dev Welcomed Virat Kohli’s Decision To Quit Test Captaincy

The cricket fraternity including past and present players congratulated the mercurial player on his successful stint, and former India skipper Kapil Dev also welcomed Virat Kohli’s move. Kapil Dev said that Virat Kohli wasn’t “enjoying” the captaincy and it must have been a tough decision to make.

The World Cup-winning leader further underlined the captaincy pressure that was clogging up Virat Kohli’s ability to play a fearless brand of cricket. Virat Kohli ended 2021 with 536 runs at a paltry average of 28.21 from 11 Tests — numbers that don’t quite do justice to his batting prowess and winning pedigree.

“I welcome Virat’s decision to quit the Test captaincy. He was going through a rough time ever since he gave up the T20 captaincy. He has looked tense in recent times, appeared to be under a lot of pressure. So giving up the captaincy was an option in order to play freely. He opted for that,” Kapil Dev said.

Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters
Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup | Reuters

“He is a mature man. I am sure he must have thought hard before taking this important decision. Maybe, he wasn’t enjoying the captaincy. We have to support him and wish him luck,” he added.

In his heydays, Kapil Dev played under the leadership of Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Mohammad Azharuddin and he wants Virat Kohli, the batter, to thrive under the new captain.

Virat Kohli Was Replaced By Rohit Sharma In Limited Overs

Last month, Virat Kohli was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain, which eventually resulted in Virat Kohli’s exit from Test responsibility too. It’s yet to be seen whether Rohit Sharma will lead the Test side for India’s next series against Sri Lanka at home.

“Even Sunil Gavaskar played under me. I played under K Srikkanth and Azharuddin. I had no ego. Virat will have to give up his ego and play under a young cricketer. This will help him and Indian cricket. Virat should guide the new captain, new players. We cannot lose Virat, the batsman…no way,” concluded Kapil.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma—Image: Twitter

KL Rahul will lead the Indian ODI team in the next 3 ODIs against hosts South Africa as Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the ODI series against Proteas due to a hamstring injury. 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.

BCCI is not in a hurry to announce Virat Kohli’s successor for Tests. A call would only be taken closer to the Sri Lanka Test series next month. Those under consideration are Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.

While Rohit Sharma is the designated vice-captain, the national selectors, it is learned, would give the nod only if they are convinced his body can take the workload of leading across formats. KL Rahul will lead India in the three-match ODI series in South Africa starting on Wednesday 19th January.