Virat Kohli was requested by everyone, including BCCI office-bearers, to reconsider quitting T20 captaincy before the ICC T20 World Cup, said chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma on Friday, contradicting the Indian Test skipper’s version before leaving for South Africa.
In his explosive pre-departure press conference, Kohli had dropped a bomb shell by contradicting BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s claims that he was never asked by anyone not to quit the T20 captaincy and was informed about his sacking from ODI leadership only 90 minutes before the Test squad selection for the tour of South Africa.
Asked if the skipper’s assertion was true, former pacer Chetan’s reply was completely the opposite.
”When meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody. If the World T20 is round the corner and you hear something like this, what will be your reaction? Everyone present in that meeting had told him that he should think hard about his decision (to quit T20 captaincy) and we can talk about it after the World Cup,” Chetan answered a query from PTI during a media conference after the ODI team selection.
In fact, everyone told him to continue for ”sake of Indian cricket”, but apparently, he had made up his mind.
”All selectors felt at that time that this can affect us in the World Cup. It was told to Virat for sake of Indian cricket, please continue as the captain and it was told by everybody (BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah) present in the meeting.
”The convenors were there, board officials were there. Sabhi ne bola hai (everyone told him), Who won’t tell you? If this news comes to you, you are in a shock,” Chetan said.
”But since we had a World T20 to play, we never wanted it (decision) to affect team. He (Kohli) had his plans and we respect him. He is a pillar of the team and if he has taken a decision we respect it. But yes, everybody told him to think about it,” he said.
Virat decided on leaving T20 captaincy and we decided on ODI leadership
Chetan categorically said that the selectors had decided to tell Kohli that two white-ball leaders wasn’t a feasible option.
”It was Virat’s decision and nobody actually told him to quit the captaincy. Once he quit T20 captaincy, obviously the selectors have to think what our decision is and obviously it is one captain for white-ball formats, it becomes easy for selectors to plan things.
”Obviously, the 50 overs decision was selectors’ and T20 was his decision,” Chetan put it on record.
Was Kohli told about ODI captaincy sacking when he spoke about T20 resignation?
Chetan had a counter-question ready when asked if the selectors gave Kohli enough hints when he said that he was quitting T20 captaincy.
”Would you be able to tell at that time, at that very moment what your decision will be? That wasn’t the right time and we were in the middle of a World Cup. We had to cool down things so that it doesn’t affect the World Cup campaign. ”That wasn’t time to tell him we will remove him. Everyone in board said that,” he said.
The ”90 minute” controversy and chairman’s side of the story
Kohli was livid after being sacked from ODI captaincy and one of his famous quotes was that he was told ”90 minutes” before the Test squad selection meeting for South Africa tour that he was being removed.
Now Chetan gave his side of the story.
”As soon as selection committee meeting got over, I immediately called up Virat. We didn’t want to inform in the selection meeting and that’s why I called him when our meeting was over and this is what selectors are saying and there will be one white-ball captain and there were a couple of questions and we had good conversations.
”He (Kohli) agreed on that. What we discuss I can’t disclose it here and we had a good chat. When it comes to planning, our thought process was we need one white-ball captain.
”He came at (Test selection) meeting around 5:30 pm and we had informed him before that. It was hard decision for us and we have to take some hard decision and that’s what we are here for. Sometimes those are need of the hour.”
If Ajaz Patel was an Indian player, don’t know what would have happened
Chetan said that often the selectors become the favourite whipping boys in India compared to other countries. New Zealand have dropped world record holder Ajaz Patel after his 10-for against India and there was no controversy.
”Ajaz was dropped after a 10-for… If we had dropped him, don’t know what would have happened,” he laughed.
Chetan agreed that there is a need for communication and he will now be available after team selection meetings so that he can explain the various selections. He said that all selectors have been communicating with the domestic performers.
”We don’t want to hide anything. Only those people have something to hide, who are doing anything wrong. We are not doing anything wrong.”
Do the selectors need to make Virat and Rohit sit across the table
Chetan refuted speculations about any rift between India’s white and red ball captains.
”They are absolutely fine. Don’t go by speculation,” he said.