Virat Kohli’s decision to quit T20 captaincy after the ICC Twenty20 World Cup has not been surprising. There were reports that Kohli would give up white-ball captaincy after the mega event. But by announcing well in advance that he will relinquish the T20 captaincy, Kohli has played it smart.
Kohli has ensured that he will be able to lead India without any added pressure in the T20 World Cup. The inability to win an ICC title coupled with Rohit Sharma’s stupendous success in the IPL and as acting-captain of India meant that there were question marks over Kohli leading India in all the three formats of cricket. By making it clear that he is giving up T20 captaincy, Kohli has given himself the best chance to win an ICC tournament. He can lead India freely, knowing well that the result won’t have any impact on his captaincy. If he goes on to end India’s title drought, the 32-year-old can go out on a high.
But if he had waited till the end of the tournament, the result of India’s campaign would have had a huge impact on his captaincy. Another failure could well have ended Kohli’s reign as white-ball captain. In one swift move Kohli has placed himself in the saddle again. He is the undisputed leader in Test cricket and now he has quelled the doubts over him being at the helm in one-dayers. The next major ODI tournament is the World Cup to be held in India in 2023. In all likelihood, Kohli will be there to lead India’s quest to regain the trophy they last won under M S Dhoni in 2011 on home soil.
Kohli also stated that the decision to quit T20 captaincy was taken after consulting head coach Ravi Shastri and heir-apparent Rohit. Australia will host another edition of the T20 World Cup next year.
The fickle nature of T20 cricket means that there are no firm favourites and any of the top sides could triumph. It is a huge challenge to consistently deliver in the shortest format of the game, something Rohit has done with amazing regularity for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Only if he can lead India to glory next year Down Under, Rohit could challenge Kohli for the ODI captaincy before the next ICC World Cup.
Kohli has never been a great tactician, but this has been a masterstroke from King Kohli to say the least.