From the Viewsroom

The curious ways of Indian cricket

Baskar B | Updated on September 22, 2021

Virat Kohi giving up T20 captaincy isn’t surprising, but the timing is

A couple of curious events took place recently in the world of Indian cricket. The final Test match between India and England scheduled to be played in Old Trafford, Manchester was called off in the last minute. The reason of course was Indian coach Ravi Shastri and some members of the support staff testing positive for Covid. The match could have been played but the Indian players were not willing to take a risk, especially with the all-important second leg of the IPL just around the corner. The last minute pull-out of course did not go down well with the English, with former cricketers-turned broadcasters Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison slamming the Indian players of prioritising IPL over Test cricket. Their outrage was justified. The fans too were short-changed as they were robbed of what could have been a fitting finale to a riveting Test series. For all the pious talk of the ‘sanctity of Test cricket’, prioritising T20 leagues is how things are headed.

The second curious event was Virat Kohli’s decision to give up T20 captaincy. The decision itself is not surprising as being captain of all three formats would have weighed down Kohli, especially given his recent indifferent batting form. But what’s surprising is the timing. Surely Kohli could have waited for the T20 World Cup to finish, as by announcing this decision now he has needlessly turned the spotlight on himself, something that was best avoided before a high-pressure World Cup.

Secondly wouldn’t it have served Kohli’s cause better if he had stepped aside from the ODI captaincy too? That way he could have solely focussed on Test captaincy and his batting. To give Kohli credit, he’s one of the few IPL generation cricketers who takes Test cricket very seriously. In fact, it could even be argued that he has breathed fresh life into Tests through his brand of aggressive cricket. Whether Kohli wins next month’s T20 World Cup or not, there is no denying that he’s India’s most successful Test captain.

Published on September 22, 2021

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