Amid the growing captaincy debate in India in the wake of the team’s semi-final loss to England in the T20 World Cup 2022, Salman Butt reflected on Virat Kohli’s sacking as ODI captain. He opined that the cricketer’s form as well as mental state would have been affected by the manner in which he was removed as leader.
Kohli was ousted as ODI captain following his decision to quit the T20I captaincy last year, as the BCCI was keen on having one leader for both white-ball formats. Subsequently, Rohit Sharma was named India’s ODI skipper, having already taken over the job in T20Is.
Following Team India’s inability to lift the T20 World Cup 2022 under Rohit in Australia, some critics have begun comparing his stint with that of Kohli’s. According to reports, the latter was removed as the ODI skipper owing to his inability to win an ICC trophy.
Reflecting on the decision, Butt said on his YouTube channel
“Because of that drastic change and the haphazard things that happened, Kohli’s form suffered a lot. I am sure he must have suffered mentally as well. The others might have been thinking that after giving such performances, if he can he be treated like that, then anything can happen with anyone anytime.”
After a prolonged dry run with the willow, Kohli regained his form during the Asia Cup 2022 in the UAE. He was also the leading run-getter in Team India’s T20 World Cup 2022 campaign, scoring 296 runs in six matches at an average of 98.67 and a strike rate of 136.41.
“You need somebody to lead by example” - Salman Butt on the difference between Rohit and Kohli as captains
Comparing the leadership styles of Rohit and Kohli, Butt stated that, at the international level, you need a captain who leads by example and shows the way. According to the former Pakistan cricketer, Rohit hasn’t been able to do that. He elaborated:
“Tactically, if we look at IPL, Rohit Sharma has been doing a really good job as captain. But when you are talking about international cricket, you need somebody to lead by example. When you want to demand something from teammates, first you have to show up yourself.
“Virat was doing a great job. Unfortunately, he didn’t win a big trophy. The think tank could have thought about it - why they were not winning ICC events. It was not like changing Virat as the captain would change everything.”
While Kohli was the leading run-getter in the T20 World Cup, Rohit struggled with the willow, managing only one half-century in the entire tournament.