Virat Kohli has stepped down as India’s Test captain in the
aftermath of their 2-1 series defeat against South Africa at Cape Town. Kohli
captained India for the first time in Adelaide in 2014 in red-ball cricket and
took over the reins permanently from MS Dhoni in 2015, leading the country 68
times across his seven-year span as skipper.
Kohli announced his decision with a statement on social
media, which stated: “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. I have
always believed in giving my 120 per cent in everything I do, and if I can’t do
that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my
heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”
“I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity
to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all
the team-mates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and
never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable
and beautiful. To Ravi Bhai and the support group who were the engine behind
this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test cricket consistently, you all have
played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you
to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able
individual who could take Indian cricket forward.”
Kohli’s resignation as Test captain also comes in the aftermath
of his decision to step down as the T20I skipper after the 2021 T20 World Cup
and his removal from the ODI captaincy in December 2021 by the Indian
selectors, with Rohit Sharma replacing him in both white-ball formats.
Kohli finishes as the most successful Test captain in Indian
cricket history, winnings 40 of his 68 Test matches as skipper, a tally only
bettered by Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh in the all-time list.
The 33-year-old took India to number one in the ICC rankings in Test cricket,
led them to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton
while also overseeing marquee overseas Test series victories in Australia, Sri
Lanka, West Indies and England (5th Test pending).
As a batter, Kohli scored 5864 runs at an average of 54.8
during his tenure as Test captain. The 33-year-old has also scored 20 tons as
skipper, although he has famously not reached three figures since his century
in the pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.