New Delhi, Sept 16 (UNI): India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday announced that he would step down as skipper of the side in T20Is following the conclusion of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, in the UAE and Oman, which begins next month.
Kohli, who has played 90 T20Is for India, has captained the side in 45 of those matches, leading the side to victory in 27 of them.
“I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October,” the Indian captain said in a statement on Twitter.
However, Kohli will continue to lead the Indian cricket team in ODIs and Test cricket. He cited excessive workload as the reason behind his decision to quit T20 captaincy.
“Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five to six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead Indian team in Test and ODI cricket,” he said.
“I have given my everything to the Team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 captain and will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward.
“I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but to also lead the Indian cricket team to my utmost capability. I thank everyone who has supported me in my journey as the captain of the Indian cricket team,” he added.
The 32-year-old stated that he’d come to the decision after “a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people” as well as the leadership group, including Ravi Shastri, the head coach, and Rohit Sharma, India’s limited-overs vice-captain and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
“Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group,” he said.
“I have also spoken to the secretary Mr Jay Shah and the President of BCCI Mr Sourav Ganguly along with all the selectors about the same. I will continue to serve Indian Cricket and the Indian Team to the best of my ability,” he added.
The BCCI is as yet to announce Kohli’s successor as captain in the format. His decision comes a little over a week after the selection committee announced India’s squad for the World Cup.
The move could help Kohli dedicate time to his batting — following an extended purple patch spanning the majority of the last decade, Kohli has struggled since the pandemic-enforced break early in 2020.
His last international century came in November 2019, in a pink-ball Test in Kolkata against Bangladesh.
Reacting to Kohli’s decision, former captain of Indian cricket team Kapil Dev said it was “surprising”. However, he appealed to respect the choice made by Kohli.
“I was surprised by the decision made by Kohli. It was his personal choice and we ought to respect that,” Dev said.