Virat Kohli - A victim of sources and BCCI’s chaotic communication?

Rohit Sharma was appointed as the ODI captain but the way how it was communicated to Virat Kohli indicates that the BCCI likes to sow chaos.

Virat Kohli was unceremoniously sacked as India ODI captain just before the tour to South Africa. (Image credit: Twitter)

In Indian cricket circles, communication has often been a problem. The BCCI has transcended generations when it comes to the consistency of miscommunication or lack of it. Be it the 90s or the current social media era, the Indian cricket fan has been stumped continuously by the BCCI. In the 90s, it was Sachin Tendulkar. Two decades later, it was Virat Kohli.

Because the BCCI and the management believe that media has to be kept at an arm’s length and communication should be filtered according to one’s convenience, sources dominate. In the power circles of the BCCI, there are multiple sources that give out leaks. These leaks either miss the whole picture or make the situation confounding.

It is these sources and leaks, which are picked by the media for eyeballs and numbers, ensure that the mistrust between players and many sections of the media remains. Either they lack foreground and background or they just miss the point. Every update by sources further divides the Indian cricket fan fraternity.

Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli’s captaincy dismissals

One is wondering why Kohli is undergoing this. But, with the BCCI, reputation does not matter. In 1997, Sachin Tendulkar was unceremoniously sacked as the Indian captain. Writing in his autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’, Tendulkar had revealed, “No one from the BCCI managed to call me or inform me of my removal as captain before someone from the media called to say I was no longer captain. I felt extremely humiliated to hear this, but the manner in which the whole thing was handled strengthened my resolve to be a better cricketer in the years to come.”

Read | There can’t be two white ball captains: Sourav Ganguly

Now, let us consider the situation with Virat Kohli. The situation has been brewing ever since 2017 when India lost the ICC Champions Trophy final to Pakistan. At that point, the way how Anil Kumble was booted out set the tone for the BCCI to create confusion and pandemonium.

The situation reached a fever pitch in 2019 when India failed to win the ICC World Cup. At that time, rifts between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma was rife. The rumors have never gone away totally and just before the Press Conference, it gained even more credence.

Virat Kohli clears the air but BCCI continues to cause damage

Virat Kohli was blunt when he brushed off any rumors of a split in the Indian team with Rohit Sharma. Kohli was adamant that there were no problems with Rohit. Now, in the press conference before the trip to South Africa, Kohli has made his side of the story public. It revealed far more than the BCCI’s press release which just mentioned that Rohit Sharma was appointed as the skipper of the ODI team. That too in the middle of the release. So much for Journalism and SEO keywords.

Kohli stated the chronology of events that had taken place, much like how Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, and Jay Shah’s son used the iconic ‘Chronology ko samjhiye’ line. So, here is something like this.

Virat Kohli had announced that he was stepping down from the Twenty20 captaincy on September 16, 2021. His term would be over after the end of the ICC World T20 in the UAE. At that time, the BCCI had no problems whatsoever. He had considered himself to be fit enough to lead the side in ODIs and Tests.

“When I first communicated with the BCCI about leaving T20I captaincy, it was received very well. There was no hesitation in that. I was not told that you don’t leave T20 captaincy. So I communicated that I would like to continue in ODIs and Tests unless the office bearers and selectors feel otherwise. My communication with the BCCI has been clear as to what I want to do,” Kohli said.

So far so good. But, it is from this point in time that the situation becomes murkier.

Kohli booted out acrimoniously?

Prior to the press conference, there were rumors by the sources who stated that Kohli was not available to play the ODIs in South Africa. That led to Tweets and questions on Kohli’s commitment, further fueling speculation that there was a problem with Rohit Sharma.

Kohli dispelled that bluntly. But, when it came to the captaincy, the situation was complex. He revealed, “The chief selector discussed with me the Test team to which we both agreed. Before ending the call, I was told that the five selectors had decided that I would not be the ODI captain, to which I replied: Ok, fine.”

Just take a moment to recognize the situation. Kohli has a winning percentage of over 70 percent in ODIs as captain. He has led India to bilateral wins all over the globe. The only thing that goes against his captaincy is the lack of an ICC tournament win. In the bilateral series, Kohli’s captaincy has been on beast-level mode. But in ICC events, he has failed. In the case of Tendulkar, his captaincy was not a big success. But, the BCCI has leveled the playing field, with their lack of communication humiliating both legends.

The statements by Kohli bring out the murky picture. One report on PTI had stated that the BCCI had offered a 48-hour deadline to Kohli to step down as the white-ball skipper, or else he would have had to face the axe. With Kohli not resigning, the BCCI made their authority known, removing the captain with a one-liner.

What next for Kohli?

The axing of Tendulkar as captain in 1997 saw him scale stratospheric heights in 1998. Maybe, the same might happen for Kohli. He has not scored a hundred in any format for over two years now. Maybe, the humiliation that the BCCI dished out to Kohli might make him raise his level of batting to another level. Perhaps, this is the way Kohli will reignite the fire in him as India plans to complete the world domination by beating South Africa in a Test series in their den for the first time.

Eras might end but the BCCI might never change their style of communication. This episode is also a wake-up call for the media, who just want to stir things up and watch the circus unfold through ambiguous sources and leaks.

Siddharth vishwanathan

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