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'Thought Kohli would be asked to lead India. If I was there...': Shastri's whacking statement on 5th Test vs England

Apr 28, 2023 05:29 PM IST

Jasprit Bumrah led the Indian team in the rescheduled fifth Test against England after Rohit Sharma was ruled out due to Covid-19 infection.

Over the past week, Virat Kohli has been leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the absence of Faf du Plessis; while the South African star is available to bat, issues with fitness have prevented him from taking the field in the side's last three matches. Since Kohli's return as captain, RCB have won two matches while conceding a defeat earlier this week against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Virat Kohli(AP)

Kohli's return as a captain was a pleasing surprise for fans and former cricketers alike; the 34-year-old had stepped down as captain of the RCB captain after the 2021 edition of the tournament. During the same year, Kohli had also left captaincy in T20Is and was later removed as skipper in the ODIs as well. In January 2022, he relinquished his duties as Test captain too.

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With the star batter returning in the leadership role to fill in for Du Plessis, former India head coach Ravi Shastri was asked whether one could see Kohli donning the captaincy cap in international colours as well – if the regular skipper isn't available. And interestingly, Shastri rewinded his memory to the rescheduled fifth Test against England in Edgbaston, where Rohit was ruled out days before the game due to Covid-19 infection, and Jasprit Bumrah had led the side instead.

Shastri stated that if he had still been the coach, he would've recommented Kohli's name for captaincy in the game.

“I thought he (Kohli) would (lead the side). Once Rohit was injured (Covid-19 infection), I thought he would be asked. If I was still there, I would've. I'm sure Rahul might have done the same thing; I don't know, I haven't spoken to him, but I would've recommended the board that it's only fair he leads because he was part of the team that was leading 2-1 in the series. And he probably could've gotten the best out of players,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.

When asked whether Kohli would have any qualms in leading the team again, Shastri said that it's an “honour to lead the country.”

“Not at all. It's an honour leading your country. These are circumstances where you got to put your best foot forward. Your regular captain is injured, he's not part of the team, so seeing what's at stake, beating England in England, 2-1 up... how many teams beat England and Australia in the same year, overseas?” said Shastri further.

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