It was waiting to happen after India’s unceremonious World Cup exit and on Wednesday the BCCI ended Virat Kohli’s run as India’s white-ball captain with a rather matter-of-fact statement, handing the reins to Rohit Sharma “going forward”.
The BCCI waited for the last 48 hours for Kohli, who has already relinquished T20 captaincy, to voluntarily step down from ODI leadership as well but he did not. By the 49th hour, losing the position to Rohit Sharma was simply ‘fait accompli’.
Perhaps, in the most telling way of telling someone that his time was up, Kohli’s sacking was not even addressed by the BCCI statement, which merely stated that the selection committee has decided to name Rohit captain of the ODI and T20I teams going forward. Kohli lost his captaincy. Just like that.
The BCCI and its national selection committee sacked the decorated Kohli, who perhaps harboured the ambition of leading India at home in the 2023 ODI World Cup.
The moment India were ousted from the T20 World Cup at the group league stage, Kohli’s leadership epitaph was written but the BCCI mandarins wanted to give the captain of last four and half years an honourable exit route.
In the end, it seems Kohli dared the BCCI to sack him, the parent body went ahead and did exactly that and the once all-powerful skipper had no other option but to accept it.
Kohli’s cycle of leadership has been a fascinating story in itself.
He started as a brash captain-in-waiting under the ever-so-cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took him under his wings and groomed him well enough before he was convinced that it was time to give him white-ball captaincy and at least two years to prepare for a World Cup.
In the next two years, Kohli became the all-powerful captain of the team, who could get things done his way. It only helped that there was a Supreme Court run-Committee of Administrators, who relented to each and every demand of his — some very fair and some unfair.
And then came a time when the traditional administrators were back in the business along with a very powerful secretary and a president, who knows a thing about being a successful captain himself.
In the end, there was no place for two separate white-ball captains.
Australia has Aaron Finch, England has Eoin Morgan as white-ball captains. Even India had Kohli as Test and Dhoni as ODI and T20I captain for two years. But all those who follow Indian cricket closely shouldn’t be surprised with this turn of events.
The worst kept secret in the Indian dressing room is the fact that their skipper isn’t the most popular man in the side.