MSK Prasad and Irfan Pathan surprised at the timing of Virat Kohli's decision to give up T20 captaincy

India v Australia - T20I: Game 1
India v Australia - T20I: Game 1
Yash Mittal

Former Team India national selector MSK Prasad has expressed surprise at the timing of Virat Kohli’s decision to quit the T20I captaincy. This is due to the fact that the T20 World Cup is just a month away.

Virat Kohli on Thursday evening revealed via a Twitter post that he will step down as India’s T20I skipper after the culmination of the quadrennial event. Reacting to the same, Prasad reckoned that the stress of living in bio-bubbles and the immense workload that comes with leading the side across three formats would have paved the way for Kohli to make such a decision.

Prasad told Sportstar-

"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,”

He added-

“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.”

Prasad, who has seen Virat take Team India to new heights as skipper in the T20I format during his stint as national selector, said that Indian cricket has seen unprecedented highs in the format under the 32-year-old.

The former stumper believes the decision will de-stress and unburden Virat leading into his first T20 World Cup as skipper.

He added-

‘’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,”
“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,”

Virat led the national team in 45 T20Is, winning 27 and losing just 14. Under his leadership, India dropped just one bilateral rubber - 0-2 against Australia in February 2019 - in 4.5 years.

The ‘Men in Blue’ are yet to drop a T20I rubber in the last 28 months. During this phase, they have registered series wins in the West Indies, Australia and New Zealand besides beating Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka and England on home turf.

"The timing of the announcement has definitely surprised me"- Irfan Pathan on Virat Kohli's decision to quit T20 captaincy

Meanwhile, former seam-bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan also echoed Prasad’s opinion, stating that he is . "definitely surprised" by the timing of the decision.

Pathan told Sportstar-

‘’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,”

Irfan went on to heap high praise on captain Kohli for his astounding feat in all three formats. While he admitted that not winning an ICC title as a captain is still a question mark on his credentials, the former seamer is hopeful that Virat will sign off from the shortest format with a title in the upcoming World Cup.

He added-

“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,”
“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,”

Kohli is the only Indian captain to notch up series wins in Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa and he will be hoping to end his stint with a T20 World Cup title in November.

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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