BCCI Feud Flares Up – Kohli Refuses To Stand Down, Replaced By Rohit Sharma
If you’re an Indian cricket fan, chances are that this year’s unflattering World Cup performance made you question the home team, and especially its captaincy.
You wouldn’t be alone in that regard. After a 48 hour wait for top batsman Virat Kohli – who has led India ever since 2013 – the BCCI issued a statement confirming that ‘going forward’, the ODI captaincy would rest with Rohit Sharma.
It soon unfolded that the BCCI had indeed waited for Kohli’s response, urging him to voluntarily step down from the position. While Kohli is yet to make any statement, it seems that Kohli challenged the BCCI to pull the trigger themselves – which is exactly what they did with the record-breaking skipper.
No Game, No Name
One of the most telling aspects of this unusual transition of power is that the BCCI statement doesn’t even mention Kohli by name – all it reads is “the All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr. Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI and T20I teams going forward.”
Naturally, Kohli’s legions of fans were furious at the somewhat unceremonious dismissal of Kohli’s position – which came in just months after he stepped down as T20 captain.
On Kohli’s part, this criticism is completely valid. With an expensive PR agency behind the wheel, it stands to reason that a major captaincy shift should have been handled with more respect and care.
As the situation currently stands, the world’s richest cricket authority faced several brickbats online:
Shame on you , a captain having 70% winning percentage in ODI captaincy is treated like this? Have always been a Msdian and a supporter of Indian cricket team but I’m backing @imVkohli , legends are not treated like this MR. BCCI
— Ash (@_Ashu_speaks) December 8, 2021
Others seemed excited at the change of guard – Kohli’s captaincy hasn’t been free from controversy, even within the team.
“The biggest problem with Virat has always been trust issues,” an anonymous player said to PTI this September. “He speaks about clear communication but where he had lost respect as a leader is lack of communication.”
What About Ganguly?
An interesting point to note is that current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, a legend in his own right, faced a very similar situation about a decade-and-a-half ago.
Then Team Captain for India, Ganguly was given the boot after a combination of poor game form and scathing criticism from ex-coach Greg Chappell, who declared Ganguly ‘physically and mentally’ unfit to lead India.
While this led to Rahul Dravid picking up the band, the BCCI, back in 2005-06, actually supported Ganguly. Then-president Ranbir Singh Mahendra issued media statements and held meetings to support the ex-skipper, who was back to fighting form in around a year.
What happened to Ganguly during 2004-05… is happening to Virat in 2021.. He deserved ODI captaincy with the record he has.. 2023 world cup should have been under his captaincy.. i think @imVkohli has been a victim of internal politics here.. This can create dispute within team
— Anurag Sinha (@anuragsinha1992) December 8, 2021
It’s a similar story playing out this time, too. Will Kohli put aside his ego and defer to Sharma as Ganguly had to with Dravid? As an ex-captain who fell from grace, will Ganguly reach out a sympathetic olive branch to Kohli? Commentator Harsha Bhogle certainly hopes so:
However great a player Virat Kohli is, this is the time to reach out to him. It is inevitable he will feel a sense of loss. It is always tricky with two captains when both are playing all formats and it is critical Dravid, Kohli and Rohit are comfortable and have a common vision
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 8, 2021
Only time will tell.
Rohit at the Reins
All said and done, Indian fans should not be too disappointed to find Rohit Sharma as their man-in-charge. With a stellar IPL captaincy as well as a National vice-captaincy in the books, Sharma seems to be one hell of a choice, with many fans excited to see the new captain bring home the silverware:
Ab ayega Maza !
Mumbai Cricket cha Raja 💙❤️🤗🤔🏆
Hopefully Virat can play without pressure in limited overs 🤗🤔💙❤️🏏👑 pic.twitter.com/oBwm5bespp
— Tanmoy Chakraborty🩺⚕️ (@Tanmoycv01) December 8, 2021
Many Kohli fans also saw the change as an opportunity to see the ex-captain take a serious shot at batting, without any distractions.
Best wishes to Rohit..
U gave ur best as a captain @imVkohli ..
Time to break some batting records..
— Sowmiya (@Sowmi_here) December 8, 2021
With a late-December tour of South Africa looming over the horizon, all eyes are on Sharma.
(Image Sources: Twitter, BCCI, PTI)