It was solely Kohli’s decision to quit as T20 captain, says Ganguly

The BCCI chief said that there was no pressure from the board on Kohli to quit and that he can understand the immense pressure he was under for captaining the three formats of the game for a long time

Sourav Ganguly
A day after Virat Kohli was removed as one-day captain, Sourav Ganguly said he had spoken to him regarding the leadership change, adding that he had requested him to also not give up the T20I captaincy | Photo: PTI

Almost a month after cricketer Virat Kohli announced his decision to step down as captain of India’s T20I team, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has said that he was surprised at Kohli’s decision.

Speaking at an event on Friday, Ganguly clarified that Kohli’s decision was his own and there was no pressure from the cricket board to resign as the captain.

“I was surprised (that Virat Kohli decided to step down as T20 captain). This decision must have been taken only after the England tour and it is his decision. There was no pressure from our end, we didn’t tell him anything,” Ganguly told India Today.

Also read: Too early to write Kohli’s ‘epitaph’, but T20 captaincy break will do him good


The former cricketer said he understood Kohli’s predicament in captaining India in all the three formats of cricket for a long time as he himself had been a captain (of the Indian team) and has experienced the burn out that skippers experience.

“We don’t do things like that (pressuring captains to quit) because I myself have been a player so I understand. It is very difficult to be a captain in all formats for this long,” Ganguly said.

“I was a captain for six years, it looks good from the outside, there is respect and all that. But you get burnt out on the inside and it happens to any captain. Not just Tendulkar or Ganguly or Dhoni or Kohli but to the captain that will come up next as well. It is a tough job,” Ganguly explained.

The BCCI boss at the same time dismissed concerns about Kohli’s failing form, stating that it is normal in cricket and that every player in his or her career experiences it at some point of time.

“This happens (dip in Kohli’s form). Virat has been playing for about 11 years, not every season can be great. He is human not a machine. So I am not surprised. His graph has gone up so high, then it came down, then it went even higher and that is when you see a player like Virat. If you play for a long time this sort of up and down will happen,” Ganguly said.

Kohli on September 16 announced that he will step down as the captain of T20 cricket after the T20 World Cup in UAE. The cricketer cited immense workload for the past eight to nine years and the need to give himself space to “be fully ready to lead Indian team in Test and ODI cricket” as reasons behind the decision. He, however, said he would continue to lead India in ODIs and Tests and play as a batsman in the T20 format.

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Days later, Kohli resigned as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore of the Indian Premier League.

He will be seen leading India’s T20 team against Pakistan on October 24, his last assignment as the captain of the shortest format of the game.