Ravi Shastri’s big declaration, ‘Virat Kohli might give up captaincy in other formats for batting’

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has made a big statement that India Test and ODI captain Virat Kohli might give up captaincy. He said that the 33-year-old could quit leadership role in other formats after bidding adieu to T20I captaincy to cope up with the intense pressure associated with the job, especially in Covid times. We had previously reported that Rohit Sharma could be named as the white-ball captain (both T20Is and ODIs).

Speaking to India Today, Shastri was asked about Kohli giving up captaincy in other formats to manage his workload better.

“In red ball cricket, India have been number one for the last five years under his captaincy. Unless he wants to give it up or he is mentally fatigued where he says he wants to focus on my batting which can happen in the near future.

“It won’t happen immediately but it can happen. The same might happen with white ball cricket, he might say he had enough and he focuses on Test captaincy. It is his mind and body that will make that decision. He won’t be the first.

“A lot of successful players have given up captaincy to focus on their batting for their side.”

It is worth noting that Kohli had only resigned from the T20 captaincy and is still India’s ODI captain. But the performance of Indian team in the T20 World Cup has made the BCCI & selectors worried.

The 50 Over World Cup is scheduled to take place in India in 2023 & the next T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022. The BCCI feels to have a different set of captains for both doesn’t make any sense & is in favour of the same captain for both ODI & T20 formats.

  • Virat Kohli gave up the captaincy in both IPL and T20Is.
  • He has failed to score a century in the last two years. His last century came in November 2019 against Bangladesh in a Test match. He is no longer being considered a favourite to overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 centuries record.
  • Kohli failed to win an ICC trophy as captain across formats till date. However, India has achieved innumerable wins across formats and series wins in SENA countries.
  • Rohit Sharma, who replaced Kohli as T20I captain, has won record 5 IPL trophies. He has also won 15 out of 19 T20I matches as skipper.

Shastri said Kohli remains the fittest cricketer in the team by far.

“He is hungry for sure, fitter than anybody in the team. No doubt about that. When you are physically that fit, your longevity only increases. On the captaincy part of it, it will be his decision but I see if anything he might say no to white ball cricket but red ball, he should carry on because he has been the best ambassador for Test cricket. That will make him carry on,” said Shastri.

Shastri also foresees many players in the team, including Kohli taking long breaks to recover from bubble fatigue.

He also spoke on the relevance of split captaincy in Covid times.

“Especially, in these times it will reduce the pressure on the individual. A lot of players will take breaks. I foresee a lot of players wanting breaks and rightly so. You need to switch off from the game from time to time.”

Shastri reiterated that playing the World Cup right after IPL was not ideal for the team but didn’t want to blame BCCI as the re-scheduling happened because of Covid-19.

“I won’t say that but because the IPL was cancelled in April, they had no choice. But I don’t think that will happen in the future. Kapil is right about the scheduling part because it will take its toll,” he said when asked to comment on Kapil Dev’s statement on players prioritising IPL over country.

“It is not just the BCCI, every board has to be careful on scheduling. Don’t forget, we play more cricket than any other team in the world, if you add the IPL.”

New Zealand and Australia face in the final on Sunday.

“The teams that are playing in the final on Sunday, they have hardly played in the last 6 months and you can see the difference. They have played enough to keep themselves sharp but they have got enough rounds of rest, at times forced as well,” Shastri said.