India is a diverse nation with a number of variations and heterogeneous features, but if there is one homogeneous description that suits the country, it has to be its love for the game of cricket.
Yet, the Indian cricket fans are going through a rather disappointing phase, as the Indian cricket team looks more divided than ever. At the root of all such sentiments are allegations of problems between team India opener Rohit Sharma and Test format Captain Virat Kohli.
Speculations about South Africa ODI series:
Till Tuesday or Wednesday morning, several media reports claimed that as per sources, the Test skipper had requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to opt out of the South Africa ODI series and that it was upto the Board to accept or deny the request.
The reports hinted at fissures within the team, because the Indian cricket team’s selectors made a shocking announcement on December 8, 2021. While declaring the Indian team for their upcoming tour of South Africa, selectors officially announced the dethroning of Virat Kohli from the captaincy of the Indian limited-overs team. With the announcement, Kohli’s rule is now limited to only Test Cricket.
Saurav Ganguly-led BCCI did not make any bones about replacing Kohli with Rohit. In a simple tweet, it wrote, “The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr. Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI & T20I teams going forward.”
Even while addressing media, Kohli said, “I was contacted one and a half hour before selection for Tests. The chief selector discussed with me the Test. Before the call ended I was told that the 5 selectors have decided that I won’t be ODI captain anymore. There was no prior communication about this.” This shows that the firebrand Delhi boy was not taken into confidence while making the decision.
Virat Kohli addresses media:
On Wednesday, Test skipper Virat Kohli addressed the media. Ending the debate around his participation in the South Africa ODI series, the Test team Captain said, “I was and I am available for selection. I haven’t had any communication to BCCI where I have asked for any break. I am available for selection for ODIs in South Africa. People are writing lies. I have never asked for rest.”
Kohli also sought to end the debate about problems between him and Sharma. He said, “I can understand the reasons. BCCI has taken the reasons from a logical point of view. There is no problem between me and Rohit Sharma. I have been clarifying for the past two years and I am tired. None of my actions or decisions will be to take the team down.”
The Test Captain also said, “My responsibility is to push the team in the right direction. Rohit is a very able captain and tactically very sound. Along with Rahul bhai, who is a great man manager. They will get my 100 percent support in ODIs and T20Is.”
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma has announced that he will miss the three-match Test series in South Africa due to a left hamstring injury sustained during a training session in Mumbai.
However, NDTV claimed that as per sources, Sharma is expected to recover in a month and will be back to lead the team in limited-overs format during what will be his first assignment as a full-time ODI Captain.
Kohli has sought to end the debate around his participation in the South Africa ODI series. But there is still a lot of confusion, given how a spate of media reports had earlier claimed that he will skip the series. A lot of damage has been caused to the image of the national cricket team and there was a clear attempt at damage control. Yet, in 2021, the Indian cricket team seems more divided than ever.