Kohli all but confirmed Rohit Sharma as his successor, saying that the senior opener has been "overlooking things for a while now".

Virat Kohli walking on to the field with bat and helmet in hand, photo taken from left with stadium visible in backgroundBCCI/Twitter
news Cricket Tuesday, November 09, 2021 - 09:47

Virat Kohli on Monday, November 9, said that it was the right time for him to relinquish T20 International captaincy so as to manage his workload after India failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup semifinals in a disappointing campaign. "Relief firstly. As I said it's been an honour, but things have to be kept in the right perspective," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony when asked about any emotions on stepping down from T20I captaincy.

"This was the right time for me to manage my workload. It's been six-seven years of intense cricket every time we take the field and it takes a lot out of you." Kohli said it has been "great fun" with a "great bunch" of players in the team. "We've really performed well as a team. I know we have not gone far in this World Cup, but we have had some good results in T20 and enjoyed playing together.

"It's a game of margins, T20 cricket. You talk about two overs of cricket with intent in the first two games and things could have been different. We were not brave enough as I said. We are not a team that will give excuse of tosses." 

Monday's game also marked the end of Ravi Shastri's tenure as head coach along with some other support staff members, including bowling coach Bharat Arun. Kohli thanked Ravi Shashtri and other support staff for their contributions to Indian cricket. "Big thank you to all those guys, they've done a tremendous job all these years keeping the group together. Great environment with them around, they were an extended part of our bigger family. They've contributed immensely to Indian cricket as well. A big thank you to all of them from all of us."

Asked if he would continue to show the same on-field intensity even as just a player, he said, "That's never going to change. If I can't do that I will not play anymore. Even when I wasn't captain before I was always keen to see where the game is going. "I'm not going to stand around and do nothing." 

He all but confirmed Rohit Sharma as his successor for the national T20 captaincy, saying that the senior opener has been "overlooking things for a while now".

Rohit, who is Kohli's deputy in the white-ball format, is tipped to take over India's T20 leadership from the three-match series against New Zealand at home, beginning November 17.

"I've been immensely proud of how the team has played. Now I think it's time for the next lot to stake this team forward. Obviously Rohit is here and he's overlooking things for a while now," Kohli said during the toss ahead of India's final T20 World Cup match against Namibia.

"It's been an honour for me, I was given the opportunity and I tried to do my best. But it's also time to create some space and move forward."

Kohli had announced his decision to give up T20 captaincy before the World Cup. He has also stepped down as captain of his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. Speculation is rife that the superstar batter might also lose the ODI leadership role in near future.

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