Virat Kohli on Saturday stunned the cricket world by stepping down as the Test captain of the Indian national cricket team. He wrote, "Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it's now," the 33-year-old wrote in a statement. (More Cricket News)
"There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey but there has never been lack of effort or lack of belief," Kohli added as he emphasised the "seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction" and his "absolute honesty".
Minutes after Kohli dropped the bombshell, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter to commend Kohli's captaincy. The Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram wrote: "No Indian fan would have wanted you to go this way @imVkohli, after a defeat. Your contributions as captain have been immense, your presence & energy inspirational, your articulation impressive. You always led from the front. You embodied the spirit of the team. We will miss you."
No Indian fan would have wanted you to go this way @imVkohli, after a defeat. Your contributions as captain have been immense, your presence & energy inspirational, your articulation impressive. You always led from the front. You embodied the spirit of the team. We will miss you. https://t.co/uzI9ixxoYa— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 15, 2022
Kohli's last match as India Test captain, against South Africa at Newlands, will be remembered as a lost opportunity. In the series-deciding third and final Test, India failed to defend 212 and ended up losing by seven wickets in Cape Town. India, chasing their first-ever Test win in South Africa, sure started the tour as the favourites.
Ravi Shastri, the former India head coach, also hailed Kohli and wrote: "Virat, you can go with your head held high. Few have achieved what you have as captain. Definitely India's most aggressive and successful. Sad day for me personally as this is the team we built together."
Virat, you can go with your head held high. Few have achieved what you have as captain. Definitely India's most aggressive and successful. Sad day for me personally as this is the team ðÂÂÂÂ®ðÂÂÂÂ³ we built together - @imVkohli pic.twitter.com/lQC3LvekOf— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 15, 2022
Together, Kohli and Shastri, helped India achieve many firsts, including back-to-back series wins in Australia. Shastri stepped down as India's head coach after the end of his tenure.
Interestingly, Shastri had endorsed the decision to have two captains for the Indian cricket team after the sacking of Kohli as the ODI captain.
"I think it’s [split captaincy] the right way to go. This could be a blessing in disguise for Virat, and for Rohit [Sharma] because I don’t think in this era if the bubble life exists for another year or so, one guy to handle all three is not easy at all,” the former India all-rounder had said.
Kohli's resignation as the Test captain completed the change of guard in Indian cricket. Kohli, with Shastri, had effectively run the show in Indian cricket, at least from the game's perspective.
Now, there's a new head coach in Rahul Dravid; and Rohit Sharma, the limited-overs captain, who is sure to complete the takeover as the lone Indian captain.
Kohli is India's most successful Test captain with 40 wins in 68. He first led India in 2014 when Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down in the middle of the series against Australia.
Kohli, in his resignation letter, thanked Shastri and his predecessor Dhoni.
"You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life."
"Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward," Kohli wrote in a passionate message.
A lot can be read into the lengthy social media post the batting great wrote, and also what had happened in the recent past.
Resigned as the T20I captain, then sacked as the ODI captain, Kohli was fighting a protracted war with the BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly before stepping down for the second time.