It seems quite extraordinary that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would be forced into an elaborate explanation for the absence of a player. But Virat Kohli’s blunt interview is revelatory on what is happening with regard to the captain-player-board scenario.
Why would Virat Kohli throw the board under the bus under the pretext of taking a jab at Rohit Sharma, one of his key players, particularly in the limited-overs line-up? Is the captain venting his frustration over a player who refuses to buckle under his command? It is a question only the Indian captain can best answer.
It could be argued that frustration is peeking for Kohli as well, having to field questions and sometimes remain silent on this cold feud between him and the opening batsman.
Comparisons with Rohit Sharma – he has captained the Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles with the IPL 2020 – and talk of split captaincy whereby it is being claimed that India could benefit from reducing Kohli’s roles across all formats must be getting under the skin of the Indian captain. After all, he also happens to be the skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who surprisingly have not been able to stake a claim as IPL champions thus far across 13 seasons.
Whatever be the case, the Indian captain sounded candid enough as he stated he was not being briefed on Sharma’s situation, stating what the public at large knows, which is that Rohit Sharma was unfit in the course of the IPL, returned to play for the Mumbai Indians despite being told to take mandated rest to recuperate and was forced to be included back into the selection party for India’s tour of Australia and then surprisingly did not go to Australia with the rest of the Indian cricket team. Kohli claimed confusion and lack of clarity for why Rohit was not on board the flight out to Australia.
The BCCI might have felt the need to come clean publicly, but why did it need the Indian skipper to add fuel to the already simmering cauldron that was first Rohit’s non-selection where the Mumbai Indians and Rohit Sharma caused more controversy with conflicting videos and show of fitness?
If Rohit is attending camp back home while looking after his father, was this matter not communicated to the captain, the man in charge of the team? Why was this made into an issue when it seems fairly straightforward? Unless it was not straight forward at all.
This time with Virat Kohli, there is a case that a third party has been dragged into the matter and it is the BCCI who is now showing open wounds by being an active participant rather than a peacemaker.
If Kohli’s claim that he was in the dark himself is true and he might have also been siding with the BCCI by throwing Rohit under the bus for lack of clarity, the onus is still on the BCCI to sort out the matter.
For one, the Rohit Sharma non-selection/selection has already caused the BCCI, the team management and the selectors enough embarrassment. Who architected Rohit’s selection in the Mumbai Indians team if there was clearly an issue with his fitness? By the physio’s protocol, should not the player be penalized for breaching the mandate? Will the franchisee be held responsible? Or is Rohit painting another picture?
Secondly, while those questions are back on the table so is the currently worrying and pertinent question of why the captain must come out on a public forum and seek clarity on one of the players he is expected to lead? Is there a need to stoke needless controversy when already facing an arduous tour away from home and that too during the pandemic or is someone’s agenda with an intent to sabotage? The people behind this fiasco must be held accountable.