Virat Kohli steps down as India’s Test captain

New Delhi: After India lost the Test series 1-2 to South Africa with a seven-wicket defeat at Cape Town, Virat Kohli has stepped down as the Test captain.

Kohli, who first captained India at the Adelaide Test in 2014 against Australia, was appointed to the full-time role after MS Dhoni announced his retirement from the format ahead of the fourth Test at Sydney in January 2015. It also means that the Cape Town Test was the last match of Kohli as India captain.

“It’s been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it’s now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief,” said Kohli in his statement posted on his social media accounts.

Kohli stepped down from Test captaincy as the most successful skipper in the longest format of the game for India and fourth overall. Under his time as the captain, India played 68 Tests, winning 40, losing 17 and drawing 11 matches, having a win percentage of 58.82 while registering memorable wins in overseas and home conditions.

“I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team. I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful,” added Kohli.

The most notable victories from the time under Kohli will be the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy win, where India won a Test series in Australia for the first time and leading 2-1 in England in the 2021 series apart from reaching the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Southampton in the same year. 

He also took the Indian team to the number one ranking in Tests apart from overseeing the development of the pace-attack reaching a world-class level and fitness being given prime importance.

In September 2021, Kohli had announced that he would be leaving the T20I captaincy after the Men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE. He had also stepped down as the captain of IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the completion of the second half of the tournament in the UAE. Two months later, in December, Kohli was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain.

It will be interesting to see who becomes the next Test captain of India. The team’s next Test assignment will be against Sri Lanka in a two-match series at home in February-March.


South Africa beat India by 31 runs in first ODI

Paarl: South Africa produced a clinical all-round performance to beat India by 31 runs in the first ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at Boland Park, here.

After winning the toss and opting to bat first, South Africa were in a spot of bother at 68-3 but fighting centuries by Temba Bavuma (110 off 143) and Rassie van der Dussen (129 not out off 96) helped South Africa post a challenging 296/4 in 50 overs.

Jasprit Bumrah (2/48) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/53) were the main wicket-takers for India.

Chasing a competitive total, Shikhar Dhawan (79 off 84), Virat Kohli (51 off 63) and Shardul Thakur (50 off 43) hit fifties but other batters failed to contribute much as India were restricted to 265-8 in 50 overs, losing the match by 31 runs.

Andile Phehlukwayo (2/26), Tabraiz Shamsi (2/52) and Lungi Ngidi (2/64) were the top wicket takers for Proteas.

Pakistan’s player Babar Azam.

No Indian players in ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year

Dubai: There are no Indian players in the ICC Men’s T20I team of the year for 2021 with Pakistan skipper Babar Azam named as the captain of the team. 

The team of the year announcements by the International Cricket Council (ICC) acknowledges the best players in men’s cricket who entertained one and all with their performances in a calendar year, either with the bat, ball or both.

Azam was at his classy best in the shortest format in 2021, bringing out his best version at the Men’s T20 World Cup where he ended the tournament as the leading run-scorer with 303 runs in six innings at an average of 60.60. 

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who’s unbeaten 77 spearheaded a winning chase for his team in the final of the Men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai, found a spot in the eleven. 

The eleven announced by the ICC includes Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi, England opener Jos Buttler, South Africa left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, batters Aiden Markram and David Miller, Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood, Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman.

Images courtesy of (TV9) and (TOI)

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