The news of Virat Kohli stepping down as India's captain from all three formats of cricket left many fans and followers of the game disappointed. It was like a bad breakup story that left people wondering what went wrong. Even now, the cricketing world is trying to understand what transpired between Kohli and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that led to his unfulfilling exit. Some are still hopeful that Kohli may return as India's captain for one last match, but it remains to be seen.
Trust in Kohli as a captain
Despite his exit as India's captain, Kohli's return as the skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team was a source of joy for many cricket fans. However, former India head coach Ravi Shastri had expected Kohli to lead the Indian team when Rohit Sharma was injured for the rescheduled Birmingham Test against England. Although Kohli had led the Indian team in the first four Tests of the series, Jasprit Bumrah led the team in the absence of Rohit due to COVID-19. There was no U-turn for Kohli, even for the solitary match, despite Rohit's absence.
Shastri expressed his opinion on the matter, saying that if he were the head coach for that match, he would have asked Kohli to lead the Indian team. However, Kohli did not return as captain, and Bumrah led the team instead. what the future holds for Kohli as a leader in Indian cricket.
"I thought he (Kohli) would (lead the side). Once Rohit was injured (positive COVID-19 report), I thought he would be asked. If I was still there, I would've. I'm sure Rahul might have done the same thing; I don't know, I haven't spoken to him, but I would've recommended to the board that it's only fair he leads because he was part of the team that was leading 2-1 in the series. And he probably could've gotten the best out of players," Shastri said in an interview on ESPNCricinfo.
Honour leading your country
Ravi Shastri was also asked if Virat Kohli would have hesitated to take on the responsibility of leading India in a particular match due to doubts or concerns. Shastri was quick to dismiss the suggestion, stating that it was an honour to lead one's country and that, under certain circumstances, one must put their best foot forward. In this case, with India's regular captain injured and out of the team, and the importance of the match in question, it was essential for Kohli to step up.
"Not at all. It's an honour to lead your country. These are circumstances where you have to put your best foot forward. Your regular captain is injured, he's not part of the team, so seeing what's at stake, beating England in England, 2-1 up... how many teams beat England and Australia in the same year, overseas?" Shastri further said.
In a separate statement, Shastri expressed his optimism that Kohli would return to lead India in the World Test Championship final this year. He acknowledged that this was a dream shared by millions of fans, but it was not an unrealistic expectation. Shastri's comments showcased his confidence in Kohli's abilities as a leader and his belief in India's potential to succeed in the tournament.
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