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The End of a Captaincy

This article, being about Virat Kohli and his retirement as a T20 as well as an IPL captain, I had a difficult time figuring out how to start. It was like having to pick an opening batsman when all your players are equally good at facing a new ball. Fortunately, I figured out that the best thing to do is probably go back to the basics (sort of what Virat Kohli is also doing). It’s also fun to sound like a Wikipedia page. Virat Kohli was born in Delhi on November 5, 1988, to parents Prem Kohli and Saroj Kohli. He is a 33-year-old cricketer, a right-handed batsman, and is considered one of the best players in the world. He has two siblings, is married to Anushka Sharma, and has a daughter, Vamika Kohli. His Twitter byline reads, ‘A proud husband and father (red heart emoji).’

Source – Twitter

A little over a month ago, before India started playing the ICC T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli announced his decision to quit the T20 captaincy, which he had held from 2017 to 2021. He had also announced that after this year’s IPL edition, he would step down as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore. The words, ‘Kohli’, ‘quit’, and ‘cricket’ in the same sentence are probably enough to make anyone nervous, but mind you, he is still available as a player in T20 as well as IPL (as a part of RCB) and remains the captain in ODI and test cricket.

Meanwhile, Kohli’s exit as a captain is largely being seen as a wise decision. Of course, some were not expecting it and had an“oh!” reaction. For example, Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan says that he was surprised with the timing because such calls are usually made after a tournament, but went on to say that Kohli has been a wonderful leader. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan praised the move, saying it was “very unselfish” and that it would allow Kohli to relax and utilize the space to perform as a batsman. Former Pakistan all-rounder and skipper Shahid Afridi also felt that without the pressure, there would be more scope to enjoy cricket and batting for Kohli.

What did the man himself have to say about his decision? In a long post on Instagram, he writes that after the immense workload he has had over the last 8-9 years, playing all three formats and captaining regularly for 5-6 years, he feels he needs to give himself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket. As a side note, the comments on the post seemed largely positive. When I asked a longtime fan ofKohli what he felt about this decision, he said,“Kohli has built a good team, a fit team, and now he probably feels he can step down and enjoy the remaining years as a batsman”. 

When asked about what he feels is the unique contribution that Kohli has made to the Indian team, he mentioned that he has seen the fitness levels improve and that the team seems to believe more in their capacity to win. When a younger fan was asked about his opinion, he said that Kohli was better at handling good times as compared to bad times as a captain, especially in contrast with Dhoni. Another fan says that she thinks his batting will probably peak again. The few fans who are apprehensive cannot be blamed. Kohli, after all, was more than a captain.Like many other captains before him, he is the face of Indian cricket.He’s the poster boy. He is an idol.

Source – Twitter

Indian cricket captains have a history of being seen as more than just cricket captains, the game being what it is to Indians. They are larger-than-life personas. In an article on NewsClick, Pratik says, “In the age of 360-degree, 24X7 sports coverage, they (fans) shall copy the pointed finger, the middle finger, the chest thump, the fist pump, the aggression, the frustration, the shout, the pout.” Sometimes, regardless of whether it is the right thing to do. Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli also happens to be the sole Indian in the Forbes 2020 list of world’s highest paid athletes with total earnings of 26 million USD and in the 66th position.

By virtue of being a run machine, he is in the highest pay bracket as far as the BCCI is concerned.He is also the highest-paid player in RCB. Apart from this, he has a whopping 137 million followers on Instagram.Yes, that’s the highest any cricketer has had. He charges around 5 crore rupees for every promotional post and also takes in millions from sponsorship deals, endorsements and advertisements. A prediction can be made that stepping down as captain could have an effect, however small, on this income, especially as Kohli is likely to step down as the ODI captain as well in the near future.

Source – Wrogn.com

However, on the bright side, this gives space for new talent to occupy the captain role. Rohit Sharma, the new T20 captain, has piqued the interest of many people in the cricket world. And in the IPL, possible options include David Warner, Shreyas Iyer, and so on. Like someone once said, change can be sunshine if you let it in. Here’s hoping for a bright future for Indian cricket.

Written by- Pragati Senthil Kumar

Edited by- Riya Khetan

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