'Decided to step down': Cricket world erupts over Virat Kohli news

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Virat Kohli, pictured here during a Twenty20 International against Australia in 2020.
Virat Kohli looks on during a Twenty20 International against Australia in 2020. (Photo by Matt King - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Virat Kohli has announced he will step down as India's T20 captain after next month's World Cup.

Reports emerged earlier this week that Kohli would relinquish his role as India's captain in both T20 and ODI formats.

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However the star batsman announced on Thursday that at this stage he is only giving up the T20 captaincy.

"Understanding workload is a very important thing," said Kohli, whose leadership has been the subject of mounting speculation in recent months.

"I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI Cricket.

"I've decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October."

The 32-year-old became limited-overs captain when MS Dhoni stepped aside in 2017.

He has faced mounting pressure over his failure to win India either the World Cup or the Champions Trophy.

Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), backed Kohli this week to continue.

"I have given everything to the team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward," said Kohli.

"Of course, arriving at the decision took a lot of time," he explained, adding that he had consulted with India coach Ravi Shastri and opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who is likely to take over as captain.

He also said he had informed Shah, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and the national selectors of his decision.

The BCCI said Kohli "will continue to be available for selection for the T20 format post the upcoming ICC (International Cricket Council) event".

Ganguly said: "Virat has been a true asset for Indian Cricket and has led with aplomb.

"He is one of the most successful captains in all the formats. The decision has been made keeping in mind the future roadmap."

Kohli is set to lead his Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore in the T20 tournament which resumes Sunday in the United Arab Emirates after a four-month pandemic suspension.

The T20 World Cup will begin two days after the IPL ends on October 15 in the UAE and Oman, with the final scheduled on November 14.

Sharma has led IPL holders Mumbai Indians to a record five titles, while Kohli's Bangalore are still searching for their maiden crown.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, pictured here in action for India.
Rohit Sharma is expected to take over from Virat Kohli as India's T20 captain. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)

Cricket world reacts to Virat Kohli announcement

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes the change in the T20 leadership won't affect a "settled" Indian team.

"It won't have much of an impact on Team India," Gavaskar said on Indian TV channel 'Aaj Tak'.

"Now it's widely reported that Rohit will become the T20 captain due to his IPL record.

"It is a settled group and will take little time for the players, who have been around for a while, to adjust to the change."

Kohli, a prolific top-order batsman, led India to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy and the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup.

He captained India in a total of 45 T20 matches with 27 wins, 14 losses and two tied games.

As captain he scored 1502 runs, including 12 half-centuries at an average of 48.45 and a strike rate of 143.18.

Kohli will have Dhoni as a mentor of the national side in his first and last outing as captain in the T20 World Cup.

with AFP

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