Kohli to step down: Experts question timings of announcements

New Delhi: Former cricketers have questioned the timing of Virat Kohli’s announcement that he will step down as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain at the end of the IPL 2021 season, saying “if you want to do that, you probably do it after the tournament”.

Three days back, Kohli had also dropped a bombshell — just a month before the ICC World T20 to begin — that he will stand down from Team India T20 captaincy after the mega sporting spectacle in UAE and Oman.

He shared the news on Twitter – just hours before their first game in the resumed IPL 2021 — that he will quit RCB captaincy as well. The timings of both the announcements have left the former cricketers a bit “surprised”. They believe that Kohli has “unsettled” his RCB side.

The match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the United Arab Emirates will be Kohli’s 200th for Bangalore. Former India opener Gautam Gambhir said Kohli’s timing had surprised him and would not help Bangalore’s quest for a first IPL title. “If you want to do that, you probably do it after the tournament,” Gambhir said on Star Sports. “Because it makes the team unsettled and emotional as well.”

Whereas, former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said, “I am just curious about both the announcements as to why he had to do it before the tournaments,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Kohli was made Bangalore’s captain in 2013, but despite his superstar status, the team’s best finish was losing in 2016 final. Kohli insisted his decision had been “well thought (out) and in the best interest of this wonderful franchise”.

Team India chief coach Ravi Shastri had suggested to Kohli to quit the white ball captaincy altogether  which includes ODIs  and to focus on his batting while continuing to lead the nation in Test cricket, reports said.

According to India Ahead, the suggestion wasn’t meant to belittle Kohli but to inspire him to continue as a top batsman in world cricket. But Kohli only opted to relinquish from T20 leadership and ignored Shastri’s advice of also leaving the ODI captaincy.

“The talk about Kohli’s captaincy started after India won the Australian series without their regular captain. It also indicates that Kohli may have to let go of the ODI captaincy at some point before 2023 if things don’t go as planned.”

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