“The board and selectors had asked Virat to rethink his decision to quit T20 captaincy. He had declined the suggestion at the time. The selectors were uncomfortable with the idea of having two captains for white-ball cricket,” Ganguly told TOI on Thursday.
While stepping down as the T20I captain ahead of the second leg of IPL in September, Kohli had stated that he needed space to lead India in both ODI and Test cricket as he wanted to unburden himself. However, the board had other ideas.
“There’s no doubt over his Test captaincy. He has done well even as an ODI captain. But it was not going to be easy to have two captains in white-ball cricket with two World Cups (one T20I and one in ODI) in two years. The selectors felt the team needed one vision and varied styles of captaincy could disrupt the planning,” Ganguly said.
The former India captain also clarified that Kohli was kept in the loop while arriving at the decision. “The chairman of the selection committee Chetan Sharma and I spoke to him. The picture was made clear to him… we explained the vision to him. He understood the situation and it was only then that Rohit was named the captain of the ODI team. The captain has been announced before the ODI team has been picked so that the new captain can also be part of the selection process,” he said.
“What’s also important is that Virat is in a good space. He is a very important part of the leadership group. His batting is very important too. I am sure he will be able to turn things around and be back to scoring big runs,” Ganguly added.
Continuity was thought to be the most crucial factor while appointing Rohit as the ODI captain a month after he assumed charge as T20I captain. India are scheduled to play nine ODIs this year. Most bilateral series will be divided into ODIs and T20Is. This will give Rohit time to build a team.
Ganguly believes Rohit’s experience in leading India in the past and his success as Mumbai Indians captain will help in a smooth transition. “Rohit’s record as a captain is exceptional. The selectors have a vision and I am sure they will share it with Rohit and the team management,” he said.