Rohit Sharma to lead India in ODIs; Virat Kohli ‘steps down’ to focus on batting | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: The BCCI’s senior selection committee, led by former India bowler Chetan Sharma, on Wednesday appointed opening batsman and white-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma as the captain of the India One-day and T20 teams going forward.
The decision comes less than three months after TOI first reported that present captain, across all formats, Virat Kohli was keen on stepping down as white-ball captain.
On September 16, three days after TOI’s report, Kohli had put out a social media message stepping down as the T20 captain but not the 50-over format. Ahead of announcing the T20 squad for the home series against New Zealand, the BCCI appointed Sharma as the new T20 captain and sources said, “the board is now convinced that white-ball captaincy cannot be split”.

Kohli too, sources say, had made up his mind that he would quit as skipper across both formats to concentrate on his batting and continue to lead the Test team where he’s done tremendously well.

On Wednesday, after plenty of conversations with Sharma and Kohli, the BCCI made the announcement public, giving the former the reins to handle both white-ball teams with new coach Rahul Dravid.

Sources in the know of developments stressed that the decision to quit as white-ball captain is Kohli’s and the BCCI has only allowed a smooth transition. Currently the world’s No.2 ODI batsman after Babar Azam, Kohli has gone for close to 25 Test innings without a century and is currently missing out on the top-five spots in the ICC rankings for Test batsmen.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma (Image credit: BCCI)
“Captaincy had been taking away a lot of his time and that is why he needed this break. It will allow him to focus on his batting which is most important to him right now,” say those in the know.
Meanwhile, Sharma’s time has come to take over as the new leader of the pack. One of the finest white-ball batsmen anywhere in the world, across ODIs and T20s, the 34-year-old has been a captain-in-waiting for long. In T20s, Sharma has proved his mettle by winning five Indian Premier League (IPL) titles for the Mumbai Indians while in the One-dayers, his ascendancy as vice-captain to Kohli proves he was always in running for the top job.

In fact, such has been his renewed passion for Test cricket that over the last four years, Sharma has gone out of his way to prove his credentials as a Test match batsman and is currently ranked fifth in the ICC rankings table, ahead of Kohli. “He has shown all signs of a cricketer wanting to improve across all formats”.
Observing the same, the BCCI has also appointed Sharma as the vice-captain in Tests and the opener will now work closely with Kohli in the red-ball format.

Rohit Sharma (Image credit: AFP)
Three double centuries in One-day cricket puts Sharma in a different league. In fact, in a league of his own. From his comeback as a mainstay in the Indian batting order eight years ago to becoming the highest scorer in the 2019 ICC 50-over World Cup, the Mumbai batsman has seen a steadily meteoric rise.
“The question for Rohit was always about what next? He had proved himself time and again and when you consistently do that, there has to be a reward of some sort. He could’ve gone on being the batsman that he is, until his time came. But now, with captaincy on his plate, there’s so much he’ll be looking forward to,” sources say.
For a cricketer who watched the final of the 2011 ICC World Cup at the Wankhede – his home ground – from the stands, Sharma’s resilience and hard work has brought him a long way.

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