Virat Kohli confirms availability for ODIs against SA; clears air on his rumoured tiff with Rohit
Virat Kohli confirms his availability for ODIs against South Africa
On the eve of leaving India for South Africa where Indian Cricket team will play three Test matches and same number of ODIs, starting on Boxing Day, December 26 in Centurion, India’s Test Captain Virat Kohli addressed the press about the tactics in place to capitalize on a golden opportunity to win a Test series against the Proteas in their backyard for the first time.
Virat Kohli on his ODI availability
India’s Test captain confirmed his availability for the ODI series against South Africa.
“I am available for the ODI series. As far as I am concerned, I was always available. Earlier, it was said that I was at some event, which wasn’t true. All those who are writing and their sources are not credible. I am always keen to play ODIs,” he told reporters.
On his removal from ODI captaincy
Kohli confirmed that he was informed about his removal from the role of ODI captaincy only at the end of the selection committee meeting and that there was no prior communication in this regard.
“At the end of the selection call, I was told I won’t be the ODI captain and I said okay. After the meeting, we had a brief chat and that’s it. There was no prior communication,” he said.
“I was contacted 1.5 hours before selection committee meet. The chief selector discussed the Test team. I was informed that the five selectors have decided to go ahead with me as Test captain and I was fine that,” he added.
On missing Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma in Tests
Kohli said that Rohit Sharma will be missed in South Africa given his good returns in England.
“Rohit Sharma will be missed by the team in Tests because he was looking really good in England. I wish him a speedy recovery,” he said.
“We all know Jadeja’s quality and he will be missed. But we have enough bench strength. As much as we will miss him, I am sure that will not be a deciding factor,” he added.
On what to expect from South Africa series
Kohli said that India have an experienced unit at their disposal to effect the elusive Test series win in South Africa.
“We will do our best to win in South Africa. South Africa was the start for us to start believing in the fact that we can win overseas followed by Australia and England (India have beaten Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21 respectively and are leading England by 2-1 in the abridged 2021 tour). We are well placed and experienced to go and win a series in South Africa,” he said.
On T20I Captaincy
Kohli confirmed that his decision to relinquish T20I captaincy was his own call and was never asked by BCCI regarding resignation.
“When I approached BCCI about T20I captaincy, I was received very well. It was called a progressive call. I was not told to not leave the T20I captaincy,” he said.
Read More: Rohit, Kohli and a Growing Wall in Indian Cricket before South Africa tour
On his relationship with Rohit Sharma
Kohli cleared the air on his perceived differences with new ODI captain Rohit Sharma saying that there is nothing of this sort in reality.
“Mere aur Rohit ke beech mein kuch nahi hai. Mai 2.5 saal se yahi bol raha hu. Mai thak chuka hu bol bol ke. Mai jo bhi chahunga ya karunga wo team ko neche karne ke liye nahi hoga. Mere aur Rohit ke beech me koi problem nahi hai. (I and Rohit have no issues between us. I have been saying this for 2.5 years. I am literally tired in continuously mentioning this. Whatever I will do, I will not do it to keep the team down. I and Rohit have no problem),” he said.
On Rohit Sharma, the limited overs captain
Kohli said that Rohit is a tactically sound captain as his records show in IPL and whenever he has got the opportunity to helm the Indian side, adding that he will always support Rohit and Rahul Dravid in their endeavours.
“My responsibility is to push the team in the right direction, that will never change. Rohit is a very able captain, very tactically sound. We have seen for India and IPL as well. Along with Rahul bhai, both of them will have my absolute support,” Virat said.
Highlights of the Press Conference:
- Virat Kohli is available for the South Africa ODIs.
- There is no rift between him and Rohit Sharma as having been cleared by him on several occasions.
- There was no proper communication from BCCI regarding ODI captaincy.
A few days ago, BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly had said, “I personally requested Virat Kohli to not step down as T-20 Captain.”
And now today, India’s Test captain, Virat Kohli said, “I was not told by anyone to leave the T20I captaincy.”
So, the bottom line is that the situation was handled badly by BCCI and things got worse in the last few weeks or so.
It wasn’t the first time that these kinds of things have played out in Indian Cricket. When Sachin Tendulkar had been removed from the captaincy, he also had shown disappointment.
“No one from BCCI managed to call me or inform me of my removal as captain before someone from the media called to say I was no longer captain,” Tendulkar had expressed at the time.
“I felt extremely humiliated to hear this,” he had added.
Nonetheless, the India team have to shift their mind from these non-issues to the game of cricket as India will eye to win a Test Series against the Proteas in the latter’s home territory for the first time in history.
As reported in TOI, the Indian team will be staying in a resort after reaching South Africa which will give the players and families some breathing space.
Read More: India’s tour of SA 2021-22: Rohit Sharma new ODI captain; Rahul, Shardul return to Test team