Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli
"Kohli scores a 100 and there are celebrations everywhere in this country. India needs to come out of this hero worship," Gambhir said. File photo

Captaincy not birthright; Kohli's role not yet over, says Gambhir

Virat Kohli’s role in the Indian cricket team is not over because he has stepped down from Test captaincy. He must score a lot of runs and win matches for India, feels former India opener Gautam Gambhir.

Speaking on Star Sports’ show Game Plan, Gambhir recalled how former captain MS Dhoni had given up captaincy and played under Kohli.

“Captaincy is not anyone’s birthright. People like MS Dhoni have given the captaincy baton to Virat Kohli, he has played under Virat Kohli as well. He has won three ICC trophies and four IPL trophies as well.”

Stand-in captain KL Rahul will lead the rest of the South Africa series which includes one-day internationals. Rohit Sharma, who was named captain for the ODI part of the series, has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury, due to which Rahul will take over.

Kohli, who was named the captain for Test matches, announced that he was stepping down from the role, ending his long stint as the captain of the India team in all three formats of the game. Kohli had stepped down from T20 captaincy after the 2021 T20 World Cup in November and was replaced by Rohit Sharma as ODI captain a month later.

Also read: Kohli can’t be a role model: Gambhir on his reaction to Elgar’s DRS

The former captain has been accused of being angry with the BCCI over certain decisions, including the change in captaincy, which is believed to be done with a focus on the long-term. Unlike most former captains, Kohli has openly expressed his displeasure. On the other hand, his performance has also taken a hit over the last one year, which has come under scrutiny.

Gambhir said that Kohli should now put more focus on his role as a batsman and score runs.

“I think Kohli should look to score runs and that is more important. When you dream of playing for India, you don’t dream to become a captain. You dream of winning games for India and nothing changes, except that you are not going out there to do the toss and set the field placement, but your energy and intensity should remain the same because it’s an honor playing for the country.”

“When Rohit Sharma comes in with KL Rahul at the top of the order, Kohli’s role doesn’t change one bit. Exactly the same what he had when he was captaining the side. Batting at No. 3, scoring lots and lots of runs and probably anchoring the innings as well,” Gambhir said.

“As I just mentioned apart from not going for the toss and setting the field placements, rest everything remains the same. He has got to bat at No.3, he has got to score a lot of runs in white-ball cricket. So I am sure, I think nothing changes,” he said.

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