Opinion

As Virat Kohli Steps Down As T20 Skipper, BCCI’s Image Takes A Severe Beating

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India skipper Virat Kohli has stunned all by his sudden decision to step down as T20I Captain of India after the T20 World Cup in UAE and scheduled in October – November 2021. Virat in his tweet has cited workload as one of the reasons for the decision.

There is no doubt that pressure was mounting on Virat  since India is yet to win a ICC trophy under his captaincy and adding too his woes unable to lift a single IPL title despite eight years at the helm. And he probably sensed it that he might lose it post T20 World Cup 2021.  Even he dropped the bombshell a leading news paper had carried a report which speculated that Virat is set to lose his captaincy post T20 World Cup .

The BCCI was quick to rubbish all such stories ( appeared on Septmber 13)  and three of its top mandarins- Secretary Jay  Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal and Vice- president Rajiv Shukla indicating Virat will continue to lead in all the three formats  and there will be no change in captaincy so long as the team is doing well . Barely three days later , Virat had dropped the bombshell not by a BCCI press release  but by his social media handle twitter.  Virat’s move had caught the BCCI – off- guard  and as former former chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said so aptly  – lack of communication between the BCCI and Virat over the issue.

If Virat said his decision was taken after consulting head coach Ravi Shastri, his heir apparent Rohit, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, then why did the BCCI chose to deny the reports of  possible change in captaincy ? It shows lack of transparency within the BCCI . The richest cricket board looks like a joke  with this episode .

Virat has not only stepped down as T20 I skipper but what is worrisome is some reports suggest that he apparently went to the BCCI selection committee  and wanted  Rohit Sharma be removed as vice-captain of India’s white-ball teams. This allegation is serious and could snow ball into a major headache . How will there be camaraderie between two seniors Rohit and Virat if these charges are true.  Will Virat perform while playing under Rohit ? is a million dollar question.

BCCI moreover off- late  did not see something of this sort coming from Virat . All the board’s energies were focussed on how to complete the  second part of the the IPL – 21 in Dubai . Sourav Ganguly talks about the road map for the future . But the only visible roadmap that one can see  is – auction for the new IPL teams in October  2021. Is there any roadmap as to why there is no player from Bengal knocking at the doors of the national team despite Ganguly as BCCI president ?  The answer is  Zero.

Moreover the inept handling of Virat Kohli’s captaincy could not have come at a worse time . Already , the Board is under fire from several quarters for the manner in which citing covid fears it did not play the fifth Test at Old Trafford against England . Fingers have pointed towards the Board giving top priority to the IPL 2021 in Dubai than the Test at Old Trafford .

As matter of fact , former India player Dilip Doshi in conversation with West Indian legend Michael Holding has further exposed the BCCI. When he stated : “I was speaking to a dear friend of mine Michael Holding earlier today and he mentioned to me that the Indian Cricket board did not want the last Test. So, their original suggestion was that the tour should end after the Oval Test, leaving enough time between IPL and the last Test in England. Giving a gap of 15 days because of the quarantine period in between, but I believe ECB did not want that and they may have insisted on the fifth Test,” Doshi was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

Other countries have adapted to split captaincy  Australia – Aaron Finch ( ODI, T20) Tim Paine Test. England ( Eoin Morgan ( ODI, T20, Joe Root (Test) , West Indies  Kieron Pollard ( ODI, T20) Kraigg Brathwaite ( Tests) to name a few.  Will this work for Team India? time will tell .We will have to wait and watch this space .

Given the sudden move by Virat Kohli as far as T20 captaincy is concerned it is really hard to predict what lies ahead for team India.  An air of uncertainty with the captaincy conundrum yet  again. Finally, instead of Dadagiri – it would be better if the board becomes more professional and transparent in its working ways. That would salvage its battered image due to the two episodes.

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