No prior communication to me at all before I was removed as ODI skipper: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, saying that no communication was made to him as regards to not relinquishing the T20I captaincy. He also rubbished reports that he would be opting out of the ODI leg of the South Africa tour. India’s Test captain threw his weight behind the newly-appointed white-ball captain, Rohit Sharma.

“I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on the 8th (December) for the Test series,” Kohli said at the press-departure. “There was no prior communication to me at all since I announced the T20I captaincy decision until the 8th of December, where I got a call before the selection meeting. The chief selector discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed. And before ending the call, I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, ‘okay, fine’. In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That’s what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all,” said Kohli.

Ganguly, however, told The Indian Express that the BCCI had requested Kohli not to step down as T20I captain. “We (BCCI) had requested Virat not to step down as T20I captain. There was no plan to change captaincy. But he stepped down as T20I captain and the selectors decided not to split limited-overs captaincy, opting for a complete separation,” the BCCI president had said, adding: “Bottom line is that there can’t be two white-ball captains.”

This paper earlier reported, quoting a top BCCI official, that Kohli wasn’t communicated with, as the selectors changed ODI captaincy and appointed Rohit. Three months ago, while relinquishing T20I, citing workload management, Kohli had expressed his desire to continue as Test and ODI captain.

Kohli also confirmed his availability for the three ODIs in South Africa that would follow the three-Test series, starting from December 26. “I was and am available for selection all the time. All these people, writing lies, absolutely not credible,” he said. Talks of him opting out of the ODI series, as Rohit would miss the Test series due to an injury, saw conspiracy theories abound on social media. The first ODI is on January 19.

Kohli completely shut out the dressing-room rift rumours. “No problem between me and Rohit. I have grown tired explaining that over the last two-and-a-half years. Rohit is a very able captain. Tactically very sound. And Rahul bhai (Dravid) is a great man-manager,” said Kohli.

He accepted the BCCI’s decision to remove him from ODI captaincy. “BCCI took the decision from a logical point of view. I can understand that. We didn’t win an ICC trophy,” said the Test skipper, offering his full support to the team and adding: “None of my actions would be to degrade Indian cricket, as long as I’m playing the game.” —

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