India in SA | ‘Not told before replaced as ODI skipper’: Kohli

I have not had any communication with the BCCI saying I want to rest from one-day series, says Kohli

Contrary to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) version, India Test captain Virat Kohli has said he was neither asked to remain as T20I captain in September nor was he informed before being replaced as the ODI skipper last week.

“I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on Dec. 8 for the Test series,” Kohli said on Wednesday ahead of India’s departure for South Africa. “There was no prior communication to me at all from when I announced the T20I captaincy decision until the 8th (Dec.) when I got a call before the selection meeting.

Selectors’ decision

“The chief selector (Chetan Sharma) discussed with me the Test team to which we both agreed, and before ending the call I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, ‘okay, fine’. And in the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That’s what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all.”

A day after Rohit Sharma was appointed the limited-overs captain, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had told PTI that he personally had requested Kohli to reconsider his decision about T20I captaincy since split captaincy in limited-overs formats does not suit Indian cricket.

“When I decided to leave the T20I captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well. There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn’t told to reconsider it. It was received well. I was told it’s progressive and it’s (a step) in the right direction,” Kohli said.

“Then I told them I would like to continue in Tests and ODIs, unless the office-bearers and selectors feel otherwise. My communication was clear in what I wanted to do. I gave them the option that if they feel I shouldn’t, the decision is in their hands.”

Kohli also put an end to speculation about him having asked for a break from the ODI series in South Africa. “I was and I am available for selection all this time. You should not be asking me this question, honestly, this question should be asked to people who are writing about these things and their sources because as far as I am concerned, I was always available,” he said. “I have not had any communication with the BCCI saying I want to rest. I am always keen to play.”

Kohli admitted that the change of captaincy issues over the last week was not an ideal lead-up to a big tour but said he is in a good space mentally.

“To be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities, nothing has and nothing can derail me from that. A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not how one expects them to be, but you have to understand you can only do so much as an individual and we have to keep things in tight perspective and do things that are in your control,” he said.

“I am focused, mentally prepared, and excited to do the best I can for the team and make the team win.”

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