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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Recently Virat Kohli decided to step down as T20I captain of the Indian team after the forthcoming T20 World Cup. According to Virat, he has taken the decision after consulting with his inner circle-- coach Ravi Shastri and his deputy in white-ball cricket, Rohit Sharma. However, the abrupt decision of the aggressive skipper took many officials in the team management by surprise.

The flamboyant cricketer also announced that he would step down as the skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the current edition of the IPL.

Many question marks have been raised over Kohli's strong decision and the foremost among those was whether Kohli gave up captainship at his own will, or he has been forced to do so, and why only in T20s?

"Considering my immense workload over the last nine years, I felt the need to give myself some space to be fully ready to lead Team India in Tests and ODIs. Playing all the formats along with captainship is a tough task," said Kohli.

"I have stepped down from captaincy to manage my immense workload. I want to continue to be committed to my responsibilities and need this space to refresh and regroup to move forward," he added.

As per sources, BCCI was getting impatient with the lack of an ICC trophy. India had last won the Champions Trophy in 2013 under the captainship of 'Captain Cool' MS Dhoni. But under Kohli's stewardship, India has played three ICC events winning none. However, India was the No.1 Test team under his captainship, winning the ICC Test mace in 2017 to 2019.

Reacting to Kohli's decision, former chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said, "Virat is a world-class batsman and a very good captain. However, he has not done that much well in the T20 format which is possibly in the back of his mind. He has set very high standards for himself. He wants to concentrate on his batting more and the decision is entirely his call."

Kohli's batting form is key to India's success in all three formats. In the last two years, he has averaged around 40.64 in 17 Tests including two centuries and five half-centuries against his overall Test average of 51.08. His ODI success during the last two years has not also been so impressive. He has managed only an average of 43.26 with eight fifties from 15 ODIs. But, this kind of performance is not up to the mark for someone with over 12,000 runs including 43 centuries in this format.

However, his T20 form has not dipped during the same period as he has averaged 59.53 in his last 19 T20Is against his career average of 52.65. Team India certainly needs a fresh, focused, relaxed and hungrier Virat for the upcoming two ICC World Cups in 2021 and 2022.

Former chief selector Kiran More also agreed with Vengsarkar.

“Kohli needs to work a bit more on his batting and it will definitely benefit India. He has been playing for quite a long time. It's not easy to give your 100 per cent always as a captain and a player across all three formats. I feel it is a great decision," said More.
 

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