Is this the beginning of the end for Virat Kohli?
Virat Kohli probably knows better than anyone else the value of 48 hours! Because in the 49th hour, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sacked him as the ODI captain of Team India, naming Rohit Sharma (who’s already the T-20 captain) as the captain. The decision has ended Virat Kohli’s five-year long ODI reign.
For someone with such a remarkable captaincy record, it wouldn’t be a poor run with the bat that’ll eat Kohli but the embarrassment of having been dumped from the helm of affairs via an email.
Cricket analyst and sports writer Hemant Buch expressed in his tweets that Kohli should have given a better deal. “Virat Kohli deserves a lot more respect than he’s getting. The hit-job journalism, leaked ‘stories’ and the manner of his sacking indicates that Indian cricket is going back to the days we thought had long passed #ViratKohli (sic),” he wrote.
There’ve been instances in the past, too, when the BCCI showed the door to players and captains like MS Dhoni, Saurav Ganguly, Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag. A similar thing seems to have happened with Kohli just as he was closing in on having his own ‘empire’. BCCI just reminded him who the bigger power centre is. Be it sending signals to Virat about giving up his T-20 captaincy to dumping him as the captain of ODI, it just seems like the BCCI way of expressing.
Did winning no major ICC events cost Virat?
Ever since Virat gave up his T-20 captaincy recently, it was speculated that it was just a matter of time before he stepped down as ODI captain too.
While Virat had done rather well, his leadership was strongly criticised for not winning a single major ICC championship. Additionally, he failed to lead his IPL team RCB to a single title win.
People like Neeraj Jha, cricket analyst, columnist and author of Virat — The Making of a Champion, believes the writing was on the wall. He, for one, wasn’t surprised with the BCCI’s move.
Adding that Rohit Sharma’s name had been talked about for a while and that he should be given a chance, Neeraj states, “Virat is a great batsman but he didn’t lead the side to even one big major ICC event; we even exited early in the T-20 World Cup recently. Alternatively, Rohit Sharma has been proving his mettle as captain by leading Mumbai Indians (MI) to title wins in the IPL.”
But shouldn’t Virat have been given more time (more than 48 hours of time, as speculated) to consider his ODI captaincy? “Perhaps yes,” Neeraj agrees.
A fair or a raw deal?
It’s unclear whether Virat made the call or the BCCI decided for him. But the news of replacing Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma as captain of the ODI team on Wednesday evening evoked mixed reactions from the fans on social media.
Some welcomed the decision, while others took a jibe at BCCI president Sourav Ganguly for terminating Virat without acknowledging his accomplishments and heroics as captain.
However, former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha believes the BCCI is a professionally run body, which has nothing personal against any player. Adding that the cricket governing body works in a result-oriented environment, he says he doesn’t see any unfairness in Virat’s case.
“At the end of the day it’s the results that matter and I think the BCCI gave Virat a fair amount of time. He’s been retained as Team India captain for Tests because he led the side to great wins. But in white-ball cricket, he hasn’t met the yardstick given he’s not won any major ICC events. You’re judged based on your performance, which was why Rohit was given the leadership,” states Pragyan.
No matter how fans, cricket lovers and former cricketers debate the decision, it seems like the start of a new beginning for Rohit, while for Virat, it’s the beginning of the end.
The decision to give ODI captaincy reins to Rohit Sharma didn’t come as a surprise to me. I expected this given Rohit Sharma’s performance and the way he has been leading India and MI Indians for championship victories in the IPL. Also, whenever Rohit took over as ODI captain of India (in the absence of Virat Kohli), he’s been doing well. So, I think Rohit was the obvious choice, especially after Virat stepped down as T-20 captain — says Dilip Vengsarkar, former Indian captain and Chief Selector