‘Requested Virat not to step down as T20I captain’ – Sourav Ganguly

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“The selectors felt that they cannot have two white-ball captains in two white-ball formats – that’s too much of leadership”

Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has confirmed that the board had requested Virat Kohli to continue as India’s T20I captain, but once he decided to step down, the selectors decided to remove him from the ODI captaincy and install Rohit Sharma in his place to avoid “too much of leadership” in India’s short-format squads.

“We had requested Virat not to step down as T20 captain but he didn’t want to continue as captain,” Ganguly told PTI. “So, the selectors felt that they cannot have two white-ball captains in two white-ball formats. That’s too much of leadership.”

Ganguly did, however, say that he was on board with the decision, and that is despite Kohli’s success as ODI captain: of the 60 captains worldwide to have led in 50-plus ODIs, only three have a better win-loss record than Kohli. “Yes, we did consider that but if you look at Rohit’s record in whatever ODIs he has captained for India [eight wins in ten games], it’s very good,” Ganguly said. “Bottom line – there can’t be two white-ball captains.

“I can’t explain more about what all was discussed and what selectors have said, but this is the primary reason for having Rohit as white-ball captain, and Virat accepted it.”

On Wednesday, Rohit, already India’s T20I skipper, was named the new ODI captain, while also being promoted to the vice-captaincy of the Test side – deputy to Kohli – in place of Ajinkya Rahane.

Was there a worry that having two captains for the two white-ball sides would create some sort of confusion? “I don’t know [about confusion], but that’s what they [the selectors] felt,” Ganguly said. “That’s how this conclusion was arrived at – that let Rohit captain in white ball and let Virat be the red-ball skipper.”

Rohit has long been considered a potential captain of the Indian side, not least because of his success at the IPL, where he has led Mumbai Indians to a record five titles in just eight-and-a-half seasons in charge – he had taken over some way into the 2013 season, replacing Ricky Ponting, and has led the team since.

Ganguly didn’t want to talk up India’s chances in ODIs and T20Is under Rohit’s leadership, only saying, “It’s very difficult to predict. I wish him all the best and hope he does a good job.”

The chairman of selectors, Chetan Sharma, and Ganguly have spoken to Kohli about the development, the former India captain said. “Yes, I have spoken to Virat personally and chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma has also spoken to him on the issue.”


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