Speaking on Star Sports show Follow the Blues, Gambhir said, “The absence of captaincy might just free Virat Kohli up much more. He might just become more dangerous in white-ball cricket with the pressure of captaincy not being there on his shoulders.”
“I am sure he is going to make India proud, he is going to keep getting runs in white-ball cricket or in red-ball cricket. At the same time, there will be two different guys probably giving their own thoughts, giving their own vision for the team,” the southpaw added.
Gambhir feels that whether Kohli is captain or not, the passion and intensity he has shown throughout his stint as an Indian team player, will remain the same.
“I am sure India will see the best of Virat Kohli, whether it is red-ball cricket or white-ball cricket. At the same time, the kind of passion he has shown over such a long period of time or the energy, you are going to see the same out of Virat Kohli, whether he is the captain or not.”
The BCCI, on Wednesday, had replaced Virat Kohli as ODI captain and handed over the overall white-ball charge to Rohit Sharma. The Test opener will now lead both T20I and ODI sides.
Kohli has been one of India’s most successful white-ball captains. In 95 ODIs, he won 65, giving him a winning percentage of 70-plus. In 45 T20Is, he led India to victory 27 times. Sharma has been Kohli’s longstanding deputy in limited-overs cricket, captaining the team in 10 ODIs and 19 T20Is before he was given full-time charge during the recent three-match home series against New Zealand. He started with a clean sweep. Five IPL titles leading Mumbai Indians made him a shoo-in as Kohli’s successor.
Kohli took over limited-overs captaincy from Dhoni in 2017 and under him India won limited-overs series in every country. But he failed to triumph in ICC events. The closest India came to annexing global silverware was at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, where the team lost to Pakistan in the final. The T20 World Cup in UAE this year was probably the nadir; India losing their first two group league games against Pakistan and New Zealand and crashing out of the tournament in the group phase.