Cricket: Virat Kohli steps down as India Test captain

Kohli is India's most successful Test captain [Rodger Bosch/AFP]

Virat Kohli has stepped down as captain of India’s Test team after seven years in the position.

Kohli led the team for 68 matches and won 40 of them, making him India’s most successful Test captain.

He announced the decision on Saturday in the wake of India losing a Test series in South Africa 1-2.

“Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now … I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do,” Kohli said in a post on Twitter. “I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”

The Indian cricket board, BCCI, thanked Kohli for his “admirable leadership qualities that took the test team to unprecedented heights”.

Kohli, 33, gave up the Twenty20 captaincy in September and he was replaced as One-Day International (ODI) skipper in December, with opener Rohit Sharma taking over in both formats.

One of the main highlights of his captaincy included India’s first Test series win in Australia in 2018-19, and leading the country to the final of the first World Test Championship in England last year – where they lost to New Zealand.

His team also held a 2-1 lead in England last year before the final test in Manchester was postponed.

The announcement comes shortly after India were embroiled in an on-field controversy over an overturned decision during the third Test defeat to South Africa

Kohli and two teammates were caught on the stump microphone complaining after home captain Dean Elgar survived on review after being given out leg before wicket at a crucial stage on the third afternoon.

There has been no indication yet from match referee Andy Pycroft and the International Cricket Council whether any disciplinary action will be taken against Kohli, KL Rahul and R Ashwin for their role in the incident.

Kohli is part of the ODI team, led by Rahul in the absence of the injured Sharma, that will play three matches in South Africa starting January 19.

Reaction

Shortly after the announcement, tributes poured from former players and others in the cricketing world.

The BCCI’s secretary Jay Shah wrote on Twitter after Kohli’s announcement that he turned the team into a “ruthless fit unit that performed admirably both in India and away”.

“The Test wins in Australia & England have been special,” he added.

Cricket legend and former West Indian batsman Vivian Richards also took to social media to congratulate Kohli on his run as test captain.

“You can be very proud of what you have achieved so far, and for sure, your name will be up there among the best leaders in world cricket,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Kohli’s former colleague and retired Indian all-rouder Yuvraj Singh hailed the 33-year-old’s reign as a “remarkable one”.

“Gave your all and played like a true champion each time. May you grow from strength to strength! Onwards and upwards,” he added.

BCCI officials were not immediately available to confirm who would take over as India’s next test captain.


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