Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma caught in 'shameful' drama ahead of second Test

The India superstars are at the centre of unwanted headlines before the second match against Australia.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, pictured here ahead of the second Test against Australia.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been caught up in drama ahead of the second Test against Australia. Image: Getty

India's chairman of selectors has been recorded making shock claims about the decision to remove Virat Kohli as ODI captain in favour of Rohit Sharma. Kohli announced in 2021 that he was stepping down as India's T20 captain, which eventually culminated in the BCCI removing him as ODI captain as well.

Sharma has since taken over as captain in all three formats, with Kohli remaining in the team. However staggering details have come to light about the circumstances leading to Kohli being relieved of his captaincy duties.

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In what is being described as a 'sting operation', India's chief selector Chetan Sharma unwittingly spilled the beans to local broadcaster Zee News. Chetan Sharma didn't appear to realise he was being recorded when he told the broadcaster that the BCCI didn't necessarily want Rohit as captain, but didn't like Kohli.

"We weren't favouring Rohit Sharma, we were against Virat Kohli," he said. "(Sourav) Ganguly did not favour Rohit but he never liked Virat. You can put it in this way."

Kohli announced in 2021 that he would be stepping down as T20 captain after the World Cup in the UAE. However he expressed his desire to continue as ODI skipper ahead of a three-match series in South Africa.

However the BCCI wanted someone to captain both the T20 and ODI sides and decided to remove Kohli from the one-day captaincy as a result. Ganguly, who was chief selector at the time, stated publicly that he urged Kohli to reconsider stepping down as T20 captain, a claim that Kohli later denied.

Chetan Sharma told Zee News that Ganguly did in fact urge Kohli not to quit as T20 captain, but claimed that Kohli didn't listen or didn't hear. Sharma made sensational claims that "Kohli tried to defame Ganguly in the media" by denying the conversation took place.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, pictured here at the T20 World Cup in 2022.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the T20 World Cup in 2022. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

“Virat Kohli felt he lost the captaincy because of the BCCI President," Sharma said. "There were nine people in the selection committee video conference, Ganguly told him ‘think about it once’. I think Kohli didn’t hear it, there were nine others there including myself and all other selectors, BCCI officials."

Sharma added: “Two egos clashing, one who is thinking that Ganguly has removed me from the captaincy, so I will teach him a lesson. He (Kohli) gave a statement that Ganguly is doing this, basically to defame him. He tried to tell this in the media… which backfired on him."

In December of 2021, former India captain Ganguly said: “We (BCCI) had requested Virat not to step down as T20I captain. There was no plan to change captaincy.

"But he stepped down as T20I captain and the selectors decided not to split limited-overs captaincy, opting for a complete separation. Bottom line is that there can’t be two white-ball captains.”

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, pictured here in action for India during the first Test against Australia.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in action for India during the first Test against Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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Kohli later said: “Before quitting the T20I captaincy, I had approached the BCCI and explained the reasons behind my decision. That was received very well. There was no offence or hesitation.

"I wasn’t told not to relinquish the T20 captaincy. Rather, it was taken as a progressive step, in the right direction. I communicated at that time that I would like to continue as Test and ODI captain unless the office-bearers and the selectors felt that I shouldn’t carry on with this responsibility. My communication (to the BCCI) was clear."

The staggering claims from Sharma will come as an unwanted distraction for the Indian team ahead of the second Test against Australia, starting in Delhi on Friday. India won the first Test by an innings and 132 runs, however Australia could pounce on the discord created by Sharma's comments.

The Aussies haven't won a Test series in India since 2004. They will be looking to level the series in Delhi on what should be another spin-friendly pitch.

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