Reports: Virat Kohli mulled stepping down voluntarily but BCCI rushed into axing him

Reports: Virat Kohli mulled stepping down voluntarily but BCCI rushed into axing him

All India senior selection committee announced Rohit Sharma as India's new ODI skipper on December 8.

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

Even as the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has come out to clarify the reasoning behind the ODI captaincy transfer from Virat Kohli to Rohit Sharma, the entire handling of the matter has exposed plenty that suggests that the transition was not as smooth as one involving behemoths like Kohli, Rohit, Ganguly and the selection committee stakeholders should ideally be.

On December 8, the day when the BCCI named an 18-member squad for the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa, they also announced the decision of appointing Rohit Sharma India’s ODI captain “going forward”. The move raised eyebrows as Kohli had in no uncertain terms voiced his inclination to lead the ODI and Test teams while stepping down as the T20I skipper to manage his workload better.

However, Ganguly, who confirmed that Kohli had declined the board’s request to not step down as the T20I skipper, and the selection committee felt that it was more sensible to have one person leading both white-ball teams.

“It’s a call that the BCCI and selectors took together. The BCCI had requested Virat to not step down as the T20I skipper but obviously, he did not agree. And the selectors then did not feel it right to have two different captains for two white-ball formats,” Ganguly told reporters on December 9.

Unconfirmed reports from the same day told that Kohli had been given a 48-hour ultimatum to voluntarily step down, and not hearing back from him meant BCCI decided to go ahead anyway. As on December 10, two days after the BCCI made the announcement official, a Cricbuzz Plus report claims, Kohli was “evidently sacked”.

How Virat Kohli’s sacking unfolded

It is learnt further that Kohli was mulling to step down too, but even before he could have made the announcement, the axe was dropped over his head. And just like that, he lost his role.

“Those in his close circles had told Cricbuzz multiple times that he was considering issuing a statement over the ODI captaincy. “Something should be coming soon,” a source close to him had said when approached about his plans recently.”

The reports reveals further that the selectors had met on December 8, first with Kohli along with them virtually, to pick the South Africa Test squad, and later in his absence, with the latter meeting materialising into his sacking.

Upon being told the names, Kohli raised no objection, while he also conformed to the development of Rohit Sharma being named India’s Test vice-captain, replacing Ajinkya Rahane.

“Formally, the selectors first met to pick the Test squad in which Kohli was present, virtually, of course. The team had been read out to him and he did not raise any objections. On one occasion before, Kohli had come on strong, much to the surprise of the new selection committee, over the omission of Shikhar Dhawan from the ODI squad, in March. But since then, the relationship had seemed to be on the mend with multiple selection meetings taking place without much drama, right until the latest one,” the report claims.

“There had been no objections even when the selectors had made one significant change – elevating Rohit to the Test vice-captaincy in place of Ajinkya Rahane in the meeting where Ganguly and Shah were also present. A little while after that meeting was dissolved, the selectors met again and this time the chairman proposed the change of ODI captain, and the pitch was unanimously approved by four other selectors. Ganguly and Shah were not present this time around,” it added.