Team India’s Test captain Virat Kohli made a shocking claim over the captaincy shift in one-dayers ahead of the team’s tour of South Africa. At a pre-tour press conference prior to India’s departure for South Africa, Kohli stated that no one in the BCCI told him to continue as T20 captain following his decision to quit. The 33-year-old’s claim directly contradicts cricket board President Sourav Ganguly’s statement that he had personally requested Kohli to continue as T20 captain.
In the press conference, Kohli also revealed that he was told only one-and-a-half hours before the team selection meeting for the Test squad for South Africa that he would not be the one-day captain in the future. The Indian cricket superstar claimed that the chief selector discussed the Test team with him. Before ending the call, Kohli was told that the five selectors had decided he would not be ODI captain. According to Kohli, there was no communication before that at all regarding leadership change.
Decoding Kohli’s statements
If we take Kohli’s statements at face value, he had stated that Ganguly, the BCCI President, did not reveal the whole truth when it came to the cricketer’s sacking as ODI captain. And that is a very serious accusation. Ganguly is a former captain himself and holds one of the most significant and influential positions in Indian cricket. Hence, it is imperative that BCCI clear its stand on the matter. The two conflicting statements from Ganguly and Kohli regarding one of the most important decisions in Indian cricket has done nothing but damage the image of Indian cricket. It should never have happened this way.
For Indian cricket to move forward in the right direction, both Ganguly and Kohli need to share a common wavelength. After all, Kohli will still be the Test captain. Even otherwise, a player of Kohli’s stature cannot be ignored by the BCCI big bosses. And while we have heard one side of the story from Kohli’s angle, it is equally important to hear the other version as well. It would be best if Ganguly comes out and clears the air. Indian cricket needs to end its controversy once and for all.
Why no communication from selectors?
The second most jarring revelation Kohli made at the press conference was how he was told that he was not going to be ODI captain anymore. While Kohli may have said that he was ‘okay’ and ‘fine’ with the decision, undoubtedly, there was a better manner to do what the selectors did. Agreed the selectors were only doing their job, but for someone who has been the captain of the Indian team for the last few years, Kohli deserved to be told about his exit as an ODI skipper in a more dignified manner.
The selectors could have had a conference or zoom call with Kohli, could have explained to him in detail what their vision for Indian cricket was moving forward and why they felt Rohit was the better choice as leader of the limited-overs formats. There was a more methodical, transparent, and professional way of dealing with the entire matter in plain and simple terms. In a nutshell, the incident surrounding Kohli’s sacking points to a lack of communication skills for the selectors.
BCCI and the selection committee could have done much better than releasing a simple note and the Test squad’s announcement that Rohit had replaced Kohli as ODI captain. One does not deny that they made the wrong move. Any decision, especially in Indian cricket, is always open to debate. Also, no one expected BCCI to come out with a grand proclamation on the change in captaincy. A direct and elaborate communication with Kohli would have sufficed.