M. S. K. Prasad, Irfan Pathan surprised by the timing of Kohli's announcement

Former chairman of the national selection committee M. S. K. Prasad says bio-bubble difficulties may have been a factor in Kohli's decision to step down as India's T20I captain.

Virat Kohli will no longer captain India in T20s after the T20 World Cup. - PTI

M. S. K. Prasad has seen Virat Kohli from close quarters. During his tenure as the chairman of the national selection committee, Prasad closely observed the rise and rise of captain Kohli across formats.  

And on Thursday as Kohli announced that he would relinquish T20I captaincy post the T20 World Cup next month, Prasad was surprised by the timing of the announcement.  

With barely a month left for the T20 World Cup to get underway in the United Arab Emirates, not many expected the India captain to take a tough call, but Prasad believes that the long bio-bubble life could have also played a part in making the decision. 

“It is a little surprising that the decision was announced before the T20 World Cup. But then, the stress he must be carrying due to the bubble life and moving on from one bubble to another (could have also impacted). It is clearly visible and that has impacted his mindset,” Prasad, who was the chief of the selection committee until last year, told Sportstar.

Having witnessed the meteoric rise of Kohli, Prasad admits that he has set the standard very high. “Virat is someone who has scored 70 centuries (43 in ODIs and 27 in Tests) in a decade has achieved something unbelievable and has set high standards. Probably, the bubble life had an impact on his individual performance, and that would have perhaps made him take such a decision before the T20 World Cup. Maybe, he wanted to unburden himself by letting go of one format.”

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“Under Virat’s captaincy, it has only been a high for Indian cricket in T20s. We have achieved success in New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa, Australia, and this T20 World Cup will be the first mega T20I event under his captaincy,” the former chief selector said. 

“This decision will de-stress him and unburden him a bit because he knows that he will be letting go of one of one format after the tournament and that will perhaps free him a bit in the mega event,” Prasad added. 

Hope Kohli can finish off in style - Pathan

Even former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan is surprised by the timing of the announcement. But he hopes that the India captain can finish off in style, winning the T20 World Cup title.

Irfan Pathan: "I hope that for the legacy of Virat, we win this World Cup. I hope he can finish it in style by winning the title." - V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM


“The timing of the announcement has definitely surprised me because you normally take such calls after a tournament. I wonder what will happen if we go to win the T20 World Cup,” Pathan said. 

“He has been a wonderful leader and we have seen what he can do in Test cricket in terms of leadership. There will obviously be questions of him not winning ICC tournaments, but I am sure he has taken the decision after a lot of thought. It is not an easy decision for anyone, but I hope that for the legacy of Virat, we win this World Cup. I hope he can finish it in style by winning the title,” the former India all-rounder said. 

“There will always be talks about him not winning an ICC title or an IPL trophy. But then, one must remember that he will be leading in an ICC T20 event for the first time. He is a fighter – be it as a leader or as a batsman – and I really wish him all the luck,” Pathan said.

Kohli has captained India in 45 T20Is, of which India won on 27 occasions and lost 14 games. From February 2019 to March 2021, India hadn’t lost a T20I series under his captaincy and all eyes will again be on captain Kohli as India begins its T20 World Cup campaign on October 22.

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