'Proud' Kohli prepares to hand over reins of India T20 team

By: AFP      Published: 08:09 PM, 8 Nov, 2021
'Proud' Kohli prepares to hand over reins of India T20 team
'Proud' Kohli prepares to hand over reins of India T20 team

Virat Kohli  said it had been an 'honour' to captain India's Twenty20 side as he began his last match in charge in their final World Cup outing on Monday.

Kohli stepped out in Dubai as T20 skipper for one last time against Namibia in an inconsequential group match after they exited the tournament following New Zealand's win on Sunday.

The superstar batsman, who had already announced the tournament would be his last as skipper in the shortest format, said his deputy Rohit Sharma had been overseeing matters going into the game.

Kohli, 33, who will continue to captain India in Test and ODI cricket, took over the T20 captaincy from MS Dhoni in 2017. 

He has led the team to great heights in Test and white-ball cricket but critics have always pointed at his failure to land a World Cup triumph in either T20 or ODI cricket.

Earlier this year they were also beaten by New Zealand in the first ever World Test Championship final at Lord's.

"It's been an honour for me, I was given the opportunity and I tried to do my best," Kohli said at the toss in his 50th match as T20 captain.

"But it's also time to create some space and move forward. I've been immensely proud of how the team has played.

"Now I think it's time for the next lot to take this team forward. Rohit has been looking on anyway, and Indian cricket is in good hands."

Rohit, a white-ball star and a swashbuckling opener, is the standout candidate to take over the reins with five Indian Premier League titles under his belt as captain of Mumbai Indians.

The prolific run-scorer, who has also quit as captain of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore and many have welcomed his decision to concentrate more on his batting.

Head coach Ravi Shastri will also bid adieu to the team after working alongside Kohli for five years.

Shastri, a former India all-rounder, reflected on his coaching tenure and the team he believes as "one of the greatest" of all times.

"Sometimes in life, it's not about all you accomplish, it's about what you overcome," Shastri told Star Sports.

"And what these guys have overcome in the last five years, the way they've performed in all corners of the world in all formats, will make this one of the greatest teams in the history of the game."

- 'Mentally drained' -

Former batsman Rahul Dravid, who played 164 Tests and 344 ODIs for India, has been named as the new coach and will join the team ahead of the home series against New Zealand starting November 17.

"I think in Rahul Dravid they've got a guy who has inherited a great team and with his stature and experience it can only raise the bar," said Shastri.

"Virat has done a fantastic job as leader of the side, one of the best ambassadors of Test cricket. A lot of credit goes to him."

However, Shastri said the side has been drained by six months of non-stop cricket including the IPL in the UAE which ended two days ahead of the T20 World Cup.

"I am mentally drained but I expect that at my age. These guys are physically and mentally drained," said Shastri.

"We would have liked a bigger gap between IPL and this. Six months in a bubble is tough. Not an excuse, we are not scared of losing -- in trying to win you will lose a game."

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