kohli

Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he will step down as India's T20I captain after the 2021 World Cup concludes. (ANI photo)

DUBAI – Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli announced Sept. 16 that he will be stepping down as the T20I captain after the completion of the men's T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE in October.

Kohli has taken this decision to manage his workload, which has been quite high. In the last 5-6 years as he has led India in all three formats. Though he has been playing in all three formats for "last 8-9 years,” Kohli will continue to do so and said he will continue to contribute as a batsman in T20s.

Through his official Twitter account, Kohli has thanked everyone who have supported him in his journey as the captain of the Indian team in all formats. He also said that he has given everything to the team as the T20I captain and will continue to contribute to the team as a batsman in future.

"I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but also lead the Indian cricket team to my utmost capability. I thank everyone who has supported me in my journey as the captain of the Indian cricket team. I couldn't have done it without them – the boys, the support staff, the selection committee, my coaches and each and every Indian who prayed for us to win," said Kohli in his statement.

The development comes just three days after the BCCI treasurer had told IANS that Kohli will be the captain in all formats, quashing speculations on whether Kohli's deputy Rohit Sharma will take over as captain in white-ball cricket. "This is all rubbish. Nothing such is happening. This is all what you guys (media) are talking about. BCCI has not met or discussed anything on this issue (split captaincy). Virat will remain as the captain (of all formats)."

Kohli said that he will continue to serve as India's Test and ODI captain. "Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI Cricket. I have given everything to the team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward."

Kohli made his T20I captaincy debut in the three-match T20I series against England in 2017, thereby becoming the captain of India in all formats. In 45 T20Is, Kohli led India to 27 wins and 14 losses with two matches tied and two matches yielding no result, becoming India's second most successful skipper in the format after MS Dhoni. Kohli also became the first India captain to register T20I bilateral series wins in South Africa (2-1) and England (2-1) in 2018 followed by New Zealand (5-0) and Australia (2-1) in 2020.

"Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I've decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October. I have also spoken to the secretary Mr Jay Shah and the president of BCCI Mr Sourav Ganguly along with all the selectors about the same. I will continue to serve Indian cricket and the Indian Team to the best of my ability," concluded Kohli.

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