'Thank you for all the memories': Ishant recalls when Kohli told him 'it's high time to win series' on foreign soil
- The 33-year-old Kohli signed off as the most successful skipper in the longest format of the game for India, having led the team in 68 Tests with a win percentage of 58.82.
Virat Kohli on Saturday shared his decision to step down as the Test captain, just a day after India lost the series 1-2 to South Africa with a seven-wicket defeat at Cape Town. The 33-year-old Kohli signed off as the most successful skipper in the longest format of the game for India, having led the team in 68 Tests with a win percentage of 58.82.
The Test contingent under Kohli registered many memorable wins in overseas and home conditions but India's 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy success in Australia will arguably remain as the finest triumph. He led India when they took a 2-1 lead in England in the 2021 series and also spearheaded the unit in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand.
"It's been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I've done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it's now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief," said Kohli in his statement shared on social media.
Kohli is also credited for the Indian team's impressive record in away conditions and the mercurial rise of the pace unit. Known for his exemplary fitness levels, Kohli is also hailed for bringing in a cultural change in the Indian dressing room when it comes to diet and workout regime.
He also took the Indian team to the number one ranking in the Test format, and the cricket fraternity -- including past and present players -- lauded Kohli for his service to Indian cricket. His Delhi and India teammate Ishant Sharma shared all the memories in the dressing room and on and off the field since childhood. The seamer also recalled the conversation when Kohli had told him that India needs to start winning in overseas conditions.
Back in 2018, India had lost 1-2 versus South Africa in what was Kohli's first assignment as a Test skipper outside Asia. But the team eventually scaled new heights under Kohli's captaincy.
“Thank you for all the memories I’ve shared with you in dressing room and on and off the field since childhood, where we never thought that you would be our captain and I’ll play 100 test matches for India. All we did was just play cricket with all our heart and things worked out well," wrote Ishant along with sharing a set of pictures with Kohli.
“From No. 7 and hardly winning any series in sena countries to our current standing as the Indian team you have done tremendous job as a Captain.
“I still remember back 2017 in South Africa, where u told me its high time to win series in these countries. Yes, we didn’t win 2017-18 series in Africa, but we went to Australia and beat Australia in Australia. In England 2017-18 series says we lost 4-1, but we know as team how close we came!!," Ishant further wrote.
Kohli is a part of the ODI team, led by KL Rahul in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, which will play three matches in South Africa starting January 19. It's yet to be seen whether Rohit takes charge of the Test side for its next assignment against Sri Lanka at home in February-March.