Virat Kohli’s decision to step down as India’s captain in T20Is has come as a shock.
He will, however, lead the side at the ICC T20I World Cup that ends mid-November.
The implications of Kohli stepping down from the captaincy of the shortest format of the game are yet to be seen.
But one thing is clear.
Great T20 record
In 45 games he has led India since 2017, VK has won 27 which makes up for the best win percentage (65.11%) after Afghanistan’s Asghar Afghan (81.73%) and former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (58.33%).
In his social media message, the skipper wrote that he feels like it’s time someone shares his burden in one format so that he can focus on leading the side in ODIs and Tests.
He remains the leading-run scorer in T20Is with 3,159 runs, averaging 52.65 and the highest score of unbeaten 94.
Kohli mentioned that he reached the decision after exchanging thoughts with head coach Ravi Shastri and vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who is likely to be the next man to replace the Chase Master.
“I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket,” the 32-year-old said.
“Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last five to six years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket,” added the 32-year-old.
While neither the BCCI nor Sharma have publicly admitted that the right-handed opener will be the next heir to the throne, there is no other man that is seemingly in the contention.
Sharma has already shown as the stand-in skipper in several games that he understands the shorter formats better than any other Indian.
Not to forget, that his decorated IPL resume also does the talking for the Hitman.
Being the most successful captain in the league’s history, Sharma is in pursuit of his sixth IPL crown this year.
He has bailed MI out of tough situations not once, not twice, but dozens of times.
The Ambani family has relied on the Hitman for years, and Sharma has always returned the favour.
On the other hand, Kohli has been under criticism for a long time and his trophy-less campaigns in the last decade did not help his argument either.
While Kohli has been a subliminal batter and captain across all formats, he has failed to make it big in ICC events in T20I, unlike his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Here are some of the breakthroughs that India achieved under Kohli’s four-year reign:
India beat England 2-1 for the first time on England’s soil in 2018.
The Kohli-led side whitewashed New Zealand 5-0 before losing the ODI and Test series.
In 2020, the Men in Blue trounced Australia 2-1 in the away series to come back after losing the ODI series.
India bounced back after losing the ODI series in Australia to win the T20 rubber 2-1.
In 2021, India defeated England 3-2 at home with Kohli bagging the player of the series award.
It is fair to say that India will continue to play the same, aggressive brand of cricket regardless of who leads them.
However, it will be interesting to see how Sharma tweaks team tactics after succeeding Kohli in the shortest format.