The news was in the air for the past one week. The Times of India did break the news earlier that Kohli is going to leave the captaincy of the white ball formats to focus on his batting and Rohit Sharma will take over. In a subsequent recent statement, the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah rubbished all the news and said the Kohli has the full support from BCCI to continue as the captain across formats & no decision was taken on the same.
Now comes the announcement from the captain himself that after 8-9 years of total commitment to Indian cricket and 5-6 years as a captain across formats, he needs to give himself more time to lead India well in Tests and ODIs and wants to step down from the T20I captaincy after the T20I World Cup 2021 in UAE.
Hence the earlier rumours about Kohli giving up a certain portion of his captaincy was not entirely unfounded.
The scenario with regards to the India white ball captaincy or more specifically the T20I captaincy was building up for a while. Rohit Sharma was winning IPL after IPL title as the Mumbai Indian captain. True he leads a well-settled outfit but Mumbai Indians tend to win the difficult games and performs when it matters most. Rohit’s captaincy skills have helped Mumbai Indians to gel as a well-rounded side and they have always been lethal in playoffs unlike in the pre-Rohit era when they struggled to reach the last four in spite of possessing some superstars in their ranks.
Rohit’s captaincy skills are not limited to IPL alone. He always led India with flair whenever the situation demanded. Some tough wins in Nidahas T20I Trophy in Sri Lanka and Asia Cup 2018 with second-string team were good results.
On the other hand, Virat has admittedly struggled in ICC tournaments in white-ball cricket as a captain losing in the Champions trophy 2017 and the World cup 2019.
Another important aspect to be considered is Virat’s dipping batting form particularly in test cricket where he averaged 26 in the last two years, very far from his all time average which is currently 52.
Hence relinquishing his T20 captaincy might give him more time to reflect on his batting which will benefit him and India particularly in test cricket.
Another aspect to be understood is that BCCI may not be entirely comfortable with Kohli leading in T20Is as he has struggled as a leader in crunch situations and big games. The big and surprise step of BCCI in introducing Dhoni as a mentor for the World cup is probably a step to assist Kohli the captain in the T20I world cup.
Hence we can draw a conclusion from here that all was not well as far as the T20I captaincy was concerned . The BCCI and the selectors did not want to take the extreme step to sack Kohli from the captaincy and hence put Dhoni on board as a mentor to support Kohli in the T20I World cup from behind the scenes. On the other hand, there must have been a discussion between the present captain, his team thinktank and the BCCI where a smooth transition of captaincy must have been decided once the world cup was over.
Rohit Sharma will have a quick challenge to embrace as a T20I captain as India is going to play in another T20I World cup in Australia next year in 2022 .
Please find Virat Kohli’s detailed statement on relinquishing T20I captaincy