Virat Kohli’s decision to bid goodbye to Test captaincy after a disappointing South African tour was not surprising. After steeping down from the T20 and ODI captaincy, and a needless kerfuffle with BCCI big-wigs, Kohli probably felt enough was enough. 

His biggest achievement was to mould his team in his image. He brought in a steely resolve and self-confidence to this team. Winning abroad was no longer a bonus, under Kohli, it almost became a matter of routine. His record speaks for himself — 40 wins out of 68 Tests as captain, the best record for an Indian captain. 

In fact, in his very first Test as captain, when he stood in for MS Dhoni in the first Test at Adelaide in the 2014-15 series, he set a template — a draw was never an option, it was victory or nothing. He motivated his teammates to strive for excellence and fitness was never an option. As one eminent columnist put it, he urged his teammates to be better versions of themselves.

Kohli’s on-field antics could divide opinion, with some shuddering and others enjoying his onfield scraps. But his commitment towards the game’s oldest format — Tests — was total, which is remarkable for a cricketer of his generation. 

There were a few controversies (coach Anil Kumble’s departure could have been handled better) and disappointments, the loss to New Zealand in the World Test Championship finals last year. But despite these wrinkles there’s much to cherish and admire about Kohli’s reign as captain. He and coach Ravi Shastri formed a formidable team.

Kolhi’s recent dip in batting form, he hasn’t scored a Test 100 in two years, could also have been a factor.

For all his ‘in-your-face’ aggression, the way Kohli stood up for Mohammed Shami after he was viciously trolled recently, showed that he has his heart in the right place. With Kohli’s stepping down, Indian cricket has moved into another period of transition.