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'Absolute clarity in my heart': Kohli statement reveals reasons for surprise resignation

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15th January, 2022
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Virat Kohli has stepped down as Indian Test captain, following the team’s 2-1 series loss to South Africa.

The 33-year old, who has led the country in red-ball cricket since predecessor MS Dhoni stepped down mid-series on India’s tour of Australia in 2014-15, broke the news with an emotional post on social media.

“Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now,” Kohli wrote.

“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief.

“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.

“I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”

Kohli had already stepped down as captain of India’s ODI and T20I teams in late 2021, with Rohit Sharma replacing him.

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Vice-captain KL Rahul, who led India in Kohli’s absence in the second Test of the series, is the frontrunner to become the full-time Test captain.

The bombshell news follows a spiteful end to India’s tour of South Africa, which saw players, led by Kohli, fume over a controversial LBW against Proteas captain Dean Elgar, which saw the DRS surprisingly overturn the on-field decision of out.

Kohli directly attacked host broadcaster SuperSport through the stump microphones immediately after. “Focus on your team while they shine the ball. Not just the opposition,” he said.

“Trying to catch the opposition all the time.”

>> WATCH: ‘F—ing joke!’ Kohli, India go troppo at SA host broadcaster, hint at ball-tampering

However, the ICC elected not to hand out any code of conduct charges.

The star batter’s resignation comes after leading India for 68 Tests – the most by an Indian, and the sixth-most ever.

Winning 40 of those Tests, his victory percentage of 58.82% was behind only Australian greats Steve Waugh (71.92%) and Ricky Ponting (62.33%) among the top 30 most experienced skippers. His 40 wins in charge is behind only South Africa’s Graeme Smith (53) and Ponting again (48).

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He also captained in 95 ODIs, winning 70 of them. Only Ponting and another South African, Hansie Cronje, led more times with a better success rate.

Virat Kohli of India

Could Virat Kohli’s captaincy be coming under pressure? (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

His 50 T20Is in charge is the seventh-most, while only Dhoni, England’s Eoin Morgan and Afghanistan’s Asghar Stanikzai, have won more matches than Kohli’s 30.

Kohli also became the first Indian to lead the country to a Test series victory in India in 2018-19, the high point of his captaincy; though he was absent for much of the repeat dose in 2020-21, with Ajinkya Rahane taking the reins.

Despite that, Kohli’s tenure will be remembered for a number of near-misses to obtain prized ICC silverware at world tournaments.

He has overseen Indian losses in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the World Test Championship Final, to Pakistan and New Zealand respectively, while the Black Caps also inflicted a major upset on India in the semi-finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup.

The 2021 T20 World Cup was even worse; heading in as one of the tournament favourites, India failed to clear the group stage.

Kohli thanked the Board of Control for Cricket in India for ‘the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time’, while also praising the litany of players he has led.

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“To all the teammates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation… you guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful,” Kohli wrote.

“To Ravi Bhai [former coach Ravi Shastri] and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test Cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life.

“Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian Cricket forward.”

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