Virat Kohli has announced he is to step down as captain of India’s T20 team after next month’s World Cup in Dubai. The 32-year-old batsman, who currently captains his country in all three formats, will continue to play for the T20 side as well as leading the Test and one-day international teams.
In a statement on his official Twitter account, Kohli said: “I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but 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. I couldn’t have done it without them – the boys, the support staff, the selection committee, my coaches, and each and every Indian who prayed for us to win.
“Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last eight-nine years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five-six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian Team in Test and ODI Cricket.
“I have given everything to the team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward. “Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi Bhai [Shastri] and also Rohit [Sharma], who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I’ve decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October.
“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.”
Kohli has scored 3159 runs at an average of 52.65 in T20 internationals, with a strike rate of 139.04, and has 28 half-centuries and a best of 94 not out to his name. He also averages 51.08 at Test level, where he has scored 7765 runs, as well as 12,169 in ODIs at 59.07.
“Virat has been a true asset for Indian Cricket and has led with aplomb,” Ganguly said of the flamboyant captain. “He is one of the most successful captains in all the formats. The decision has been made keeping in mind the future roadmap.”
Kohli is set to lead his Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore in the T20 tournament which resumes Sunday in the United Arab Emirates after a four-month pandemic suspension. The T20 World Cup will begin two days after the IPL ends on October 15 in the UAE and Oman with the final scheduled on November 14.
Indian media reported that Sharma could take over as a limited-overs captain. Sharma, a swashbuckling opener, has led IPL holders Mumbai Indians to a record five titles while Kohli’s Bangalore is still searching for their maiden crown.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes the change in the T20 leadership won’t affect a “settled” Indian team. “It won’t have much of an impact on Team India,” Gavaskar said on Indian TV channel ‘Aaj Tak’.
“Now it’s widely reported that Rohit will become the T20 captain due to his IPL record. It is a settled group and will take little time for the players, who have been around for a while, to adjust to the change.” Kohli, a prolific top-order batsman, led India to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy and the semi-final of the 2019 50-over World Cup.
Kohli captained India in a total of 45 T20 matches with 27 wins, 14 losses, and two tied games. As captain, he scored 1,502 runs including 12 half-centuries at an average of 48.45 and a strike rate of 143.18. Kohli will have Dhoni as a mentor of the national side in his first and last outing as captain in the T20 World Cup.