Virat Kohli - Why He Stepped Down
THE WEEK|October 03, 2021
Stepping down from T20 captaincy could help Virat Kohli rediscover the superstar batsman in him
Neeru Bhatia

When Virat Kohli tweeted his decision to step down as T20I captain, it caught many people off guard, including officials in the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Kohli said he had consulted his inner circle, coach Ravi Shastri and his deputy in white-ball cricket, Rohit Sharma.

The BCCI took quite some time to come up with appropriate reactions. A few days earlier, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had denied reports of Kohli's possible resignation. Said BCCI secretary Jay Shah: “I have been in discussions with Virat and the team leadership for the past six months and the decision has been thought through. Virat will continue to contribute as a player and as a senior member of the side in shaping the future course of Indian cricket.”

The selectors remained incommunicado.

On September 20, Kohli announced that he would also step down as captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the current edition of the IPL.

There were many questions; foremost among them was whether he had chosen to or was he nudged to give up captaincy. Also, why only T20Is? “Understanding workload is important and considering my immense workload over the last eight-nine years, playing all formats and captaining regularly for the past five-six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Tests and ODIs,” Kohli said in his statement.

THE WEEK has learnt that giving up T20I and RCB captaincy had been on Kohli's mind for a long time. He had reportedly brought this up with Shastri a few months ago, but the latter told him “to wait sometime before taking a final call”. The discussion, however, intensified after India lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand this June.

Reportedly, it was entirely Kohli's decision. The BCCI had, no doubt, been getting impatient with the lack of an ICC trophy; India last won one in 2013—the Champions Trophy, under M.S. Dhoni.

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