Virat Kohli steps down as India Test captain after losing South Africa series
- Talismanic batter steps down after seven years in role
- ‘I’ve left nothing out there,’ says 33-year-old after 2-1 loss
India’s Virat Kohli has stepped down as captain of the Test side following their 2-1 series defeat by South Africa, saying of his time in charge: “I’ve left nothing out there.” On Friday, as his side lost by seven wickets in Cape Town, he conceded it had been “a tough one to take” after India had won last month’s first Test.
The 33-year-old first led his country in red-ball cricket temporarily during the winter tour of Australia in 2014 before he permanently took the reins from MS Dhoni at the end of the series. Acknowledging his predecessor, Kohli said in a statement: “A big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward.”
In the statement, posted on Twitter, he added: “It’s been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Every thing has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test captain of India, it’s now.
“There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief. I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.”
Kohli gave up the Twenty20 captaincy in September and was replaced as one-day international skipper in December, with Rohit Sharma taking over in both formats. Kohli led India in 68 Tests, winning 40 and losing 17. During his tenure they became the No 1 side in the ICC’s Test rankings and finished runners-up to New Zealand in last June’s World Test Championship final.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India acknowledged the outgoing captain’s contribution on Twitter, congratulating Kohli “for his admirable leadership qualities that took the Test team to unprecedented heights”.
Kohli has played 99 Tests and scored 7,962 runs at an average of 50.39. He has struck 27 Test centuries but his last three-figure score in red-ball cricket for his country came in November 2019, 15 matches and 27 innings ago. He missed the second Test in South Africa and managed a top score of 79 during the series.