Virat Kohli likely to break silence on captaincy snub, participation in ODIs ahead of India's departure for South Africa

By, New Delhi
Dec 15, 2021 07:20 AM IST

Ahead of India's departure for their tour of South Africa, involving three Tests and as many ODIs, the team's red-ball skipper Virat Kohli is going to address a press conference at 1pm in Mumbai on Wednesday, December 15.

The buck never stops until it really does. As lucrative and glittering as Indian cricket is, it is unfortunately not devoid of its fair share of controversy. On good days, the public court called 'fans' take their beloved cricketers to an insurmountable pedestal and on bad days, the very same platform disappears with the snap of their fingers. And if there is anyone in this country who has been put to this test time and again, it is none other than India's Test skipper Virat Kohli. The 33-year-old has had to clear the air on matters on a regular basis and will have to do it again on Wednesday when he addresses some of the burning questions surrounding Indian cricket during a virtual press conference from Mumbai ahead of the team's departure to South Africa.

Virat Kohli is expected to answer the some burning questions.
Virat Kohli is expected to answer the some burning questions.


As has been the custom, before every tour, the head coach and the captain address the media from the team hotel. Whether Rahul Dravid will be present remains to be seen but for Kohli, this will be different to every other presser he would have done as captain in the past as he will speak publicly for the first time since his 'ODI captaincy snub'.


It all began at 7:15 pm IST on Wednesday, December 8, when the BCCI announced the Test squad for the upcoming SA Tests; slated to begin in Centurion on December 26. The tweet mentioning the 18-member squad did not grab as many eyeballs as the next tweet. 


A minute later, the board put out another tweet and boy, did that pick up heat like wildfire. It stated: "The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr. Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI & T20I teams going forward."

And this is where speculations skyrocketed. BCCI has been known for remaining tight-lipped on decisions and this announcement was no different. It came out of nowhere despite some experts predicting it. Rohit Sharma had taken over the T20I captaincy from Kohli following the culmination of the 2021 T20 World Cup. Kohli had decided to resign from the post to focus on his batting and leading the side in ODIs and Tests. And yet, he was 'axed' from the position.


Rumours continued to float all over social media and no one could fathom what had happened. And then, four days later, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly revealed what how the decision was actually taken.

"It's like I said… I personally requested him (Kohli) not to give up T20 captaincy. Obviously, he felt the workload. Which is fine, he has been a great cricketer, he has been very intense with his cricket. He has captained for a long period of time and these things happen. Because I have captained for a long period of time; therefore, I know. Also, they wanted only one white-ball captain. And that’s why this decision. I don’t know what’s going to happen in future. But as I said, it’s a good team and it has some fantastic players and I hope they will turn it around," he told in an interview.


Most people bought this rationale and were happy to put a full stop on this issue. But as they say, it's not over till it's over. On Monday, December 13, Rohit Sharma, a day after he spoke publicly for the first time since becoming India's white-ball captain, was ruled out of the Test series due to a hamstring issue. Flouting reports prior to the official announcement claimed he was hit on the finger during a net session.

India's domestic cricket star Priyank Panchal was named the replacement and just when one thought the chatter surrounding this tour, which has already been postponed by 9 days due to the wretched coronavirus, out came another piece of news roof that blew off the roof.


A few hours after BCCI's announcement on Rohit Sharma, several reports emerged claiming that Virat Kohli is expected to miss the ODI series in January due to 'personal reasons'. 'Sources close' to ANI confirmed to the news agency that Kohli has indeed asked the board for a small break in January next year.

"Yes, Kohli has asked for a small break in January to spend some time with his family. It effectively means that he would miss the ODI series against South Africa," the source said.

For several pundits and cricketers, this "news" was the equivalent to "adding salt to the wounds" because they believed this is an ego issue, post the handover of captaincy, more than anything. 

Some other reports claimed that Kohli had already asked for a leave of absence to spend time with his family and celebrate his daughter, Vamika's first birthday on January 11. 

Well, all the speculations will be put to rest later today and all the questions will be answered as Kohli will take on the journalists. And hopefully, the buck will truly stop then.

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    Shivansh Gupta is a multi-sport journalist with the Digital Sports Desk at Hindustan Times. He writes on and follows a plethora of sports: cricket, football, racquet sports, Kabaddi, Motorsport being a few. His love for sports grew through Sachin Tendulkar's batting and the feeling eventually branched into a liking for other sports. He covered the 2018 ATP Tata Open 250 (as a college student), UTT, and PKL. His love for blogging live matches across the sporting spectrum is unparalleled. EDM and food, and tea are a great conversation starter with Shivansh. He spent his formative years in Tanzania before moving to Pune for college.

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