Kohli catches detractors in BCCI on wrong foot by quitting Test captaincy

Whenever Virat Kohli drives the ball, there is tremendous power and exquisite timing behind the shot. The effect is thrilling to the spectators and shocking to the bowler who sees his best delivery being dispatched to the boundary with authority and precision. Yesterday however, it was Kohli’s fans as well as detractors in the BCCI who were left shocked and stupefied as he unexpectedly announced that he will step down from the post of India’s Test cricket captain.

With his decision to relinquish the throne, King Kohli brought to an end a remarkable run as captain of the Indian team. Throughout his captaincy, he set an example for the men in blue with his personal fitness and dedication. According to the ICC, he has captained India 68 times (more than any other player) and has led India to 40 wins, which is also a record.

Granted that he was ambitious and ruthless but modern day professional sport requires these qualities. If a captain brings in these qualities and fires up the side to hit back at the opponents, should he be looked down upon? A sports field is not a prim and proper tea party for ladies and gents. Within the framework of the rules, one has to fight as hard as possible. Kohli fought for whatever he believed in whether it was about India or about a Muslim teammate like Shami who was being victimised. When Kohli decided to hit, he hit hard.

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His decision to quit came a day after India had lost the Test series to South Africa. Of late, Virat had been involved in a war of words, albeit a subtle one, with the BCCI bigwigs over the issue of captaincy of T20 and ODI matches. It started when he announced that he would step down as T20 captain. The BCCI then stripped him of the ODI captaincy.

Kohli had expressed his disappointment and revealed that he had been told about his removal as ODI captain just 90 minutes before the selection meeting to pick the Test squad for South Africa. Maybe the BCCI would have done it again with his Test captaincy. Perhaps they would have done an even a dirtier job of humiliation by informing the media before informing Kohli.

So there were enough indications that for some reason, Kohli was no longer in the good books of the BCCI. In short, his job was on the line and the knives were out to finish him off. Kohli is a shrewd and experienced player and so he knew what was going on behind the scenes. He knew fully well that the bigwigs in the BCCI were just waiting for an excuse to get rid of him.

So he probably decided to catch them off guard and announced that he would quit the post of captain before they could humiliate him by sacking him. No doubt the writing was on the wall. His own form had not been good for a long time. Perhaps the long years of dogged battles against top class opponents had taken a toll on his body and mind.

His detractors, who wanted him to go, had many valid reasons. No doubt, it is true that India had not won an ICC trophy, also true that the Indian batting was showing signs of wear and tear. Moreover it cannot be denied that he sometimes lost his temper and seemed too aggressive. He should not have vented his wrath into the stump microphone recently. All this cannot be denied. But it is also true that Kohli was an inspirational leader. As a captain he led from the front and took the team to dizzy heights with his glorious strokeplay.

Like all worthy men he had his good points and his bad points. But looking at the broader picture, his contribution to Indian cricket outweighed his drawbacks by a great measure. He had one hundred percent commitment, equal passion and uncompromising fighting spirit. What he lacked was a soft touch to his approach. He was one of those hard driving team leaders and men of action. Not a quiet thinker or schemer.

Many cricketers heaped praise on Kohli’s tenure as captain. But the most glowing compliments came from the West Indian legend Sir Vivian Richards. He said on Twitter: “Congratulations @imVkohli on a stunning run as the Indian captain. You can be very proud of what you have achieved so far and for sure your name will be up there among the best leaders in world cricket.”

What a great compliment that is, coming from one of the most illustrious names in the history of cricket. Surely Virat Kohli will be proud that the West Indian legend has bestowed such a golden accolade upon him.

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