India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli, in the pre-departure press conference ahead of the South Africa tour, cleared the air with respect to what has been a controversial week for Indian cricket.
A look at the major takeaways from his chat with reporters.
Kohli’s available for the South Africa ODIs
Virat brushed aside any speculation with respect to his availability for the South Africa ODIs, following reports that he might miss the series owing to personal commitments. He said, “I was and I am available for selection, all this time. You should not be asking me this question honestly, it should be asked to the people writing about these things or their sources. As far as I am concerned, I was always available. I have had no communication with the BCCI that I want to rest.”
‘Sources’ are spreading misinformation
Continuing the above, he went ahead and called out all those writing stories based on ‘sources’ within Indian cricket. He said, “There were a few things in the past as well, it was said that I was attending some event or something, which is absolutely not true either. All these people who are writing these things and their sources, to me they are absolutely not credible. So I said I am available for selection to South Africa. This question should be asked to the people, who are writing about this. Writing lies.”
‘No prior communication’ before Kohli lost ODI captaincy
Virat talked about how he was told of the decision to remove him. At the end of a call with the chief selector, which took place 90 minutes before the Test team selection meeting for the South Africa tour, he was informed that the five selectors had decided that they won’t continue with him as the ODI skipper.
In his own words, Virat stated that he wasn’t informed of the decision to remove him from ODI captaincy before that moment.
“I was contacted one and a half hours before the selection meeting on the 8th [of December] for the Test series and there was no prior communication with me at all since I announced the T20I captaincy decision up until 8th Dec when, as I said, I got a call one and a half hours before the selection meeting.”
Kohli, Ganguly’s contradicting takes on T20I resignation
Virat gave a different version of the events leading to his T20I captaincy resignation from the one which was put forward by the BCCI president. On December 12, Ganguly said that he had “personally requested” Kohli not to give T20 captaincy, “Obviously, he felt the workload. Which is fine, he has been a great cricketer, he has been very intense with his cricket. He has captained for a long period of time and these things happen.”
Kohli on the other hand said that the BCCI was quite welcoming of his decision to quit the T20I captaincy,r receiving it without any hesitation.
“…it was received well,” Kohli said. “There was no offence, there was no hesitation – I wasn’t told that I should not leave T20I captaincy, but it was received positively… that it’s a progressive step, it’s in the right direction.”
No rift with Rohit
Kohli also took time to clarify that he has no issues with Rohit Sharma, despite reports suggesting a possible rift in the camp. When asked about the same, he said, “See, there is no issue between myself and Rohit. Honestly, I’ve clarified the same over the last two-three years regularly, and I’ve gotten tired of clarifying the same.”
He added, “None of my actions or communication will be to bring down the team till I play for India.”