Reports: Virat Kohli refused to step down as ODI skipper, BCCI opted 'proven leader' Rohit Sharma unilaterally

Reports: Virat Kohli refused to step down as ODI skipper, BCCI opted ‘proven leader’ Rohit Sharma unilaterally

The transfer of ODI captaincy came with a terse BCCI tweet, per which the selectors “decided to name” Rohit as the captain “going forward”.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The All India senior selection committee, on Wednesday (December 8), announced their decision of naming Rohit Sharma as India’s ODI skipper, replacing Virat Kohli, who had only recently relinquished T20I captaincy following the team’s premature exit in the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

While Kohli stepping down meant India had taken a step towards adopting split captaincy for the first time, he had clearly announced his decision to step down as only the team’s T20I skipper, understandably inclined to continue leading both ODI and Test teams. However, given the commonly adopted model of splitting leadership roles in white-ball and red-ball formats, it was speculated that the passing of the baton in ODIs was only a matter of time.

Come December 8, it turned out to be true. “The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI & T20I teams going forward,” read a BCCI tweet as the board announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming three-Test series in South Africa.

What was, however, surprising was, unlike the previous instance, when Kohli announced his decision in the public domain himself, the transfer of ODI captaincy came with a terse tweet from the board, per which the selectors “decided to name” Rohit as the captain “going forward”.

Hours later, emerging reports reveal that looking at the development with suspicion might not be foolhardy. It is leant that the BCCI had given Kohli an option of stepping down voluntarily but he chose not to, forcing the board and the Chetan Sharma-led panel to unilaterally impose the decision.

The development means Kohli’s tenure at the helm ends without an ICC trophy in limited-overs events. He will, however, continue as the team’s captain in the longest format. Kohli, who took over as India’s full-time leader in 2017 after MS Dhoni stepped down, won 65 of the 95 ODIs he led India in. Although, despite being hugely successful in bilaterals, he could not lead India to any title in a multi-team event, with that title drought now having swollen up to nearly eight years – India’s last ICC event triumph was the 2013 Champions Trophy under Dhoni.

Under Kohli, India proceeded to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy but lost to Pakistan, while the team crashed out in the semi-final of the 2019 ODI World Cup after losing to New Zealand, who also defeated them in the inaugural World Test Championship final in 2021.

As for Rohit, who meanwhile also took over the Test vice-captaincy from an out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane, leading a team is nothing new. Rohit has been unmatched in the Indian Premier League, having led his team Mumbai Indians to no less than five titles after assuming captaincy in 2013.

Albeit the sample size of his international captaincy is small, it is impressive nonetheless: he has won eight of the 10 ODIs, including winning the 2018 Asia Cup while standing in for Kohli. In the shorter format, Rohit has 18 wins in 22 games, three of which came recently against New Zealand at home in his maiden series as the full-time captain.