Decision surprising, Ponting praises Kohli for India’s overseas show

The Australian expressed surprise at the Delhi batter’s decision to give up captainship

Virat Kohli and Ricky Ponting. Pics: PTI

Former India captain Virat Kohli has received massive support from former cricketing greats since his decision to step down as Test skipper. Latest to react was former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who expressed “surprise” at Kohli’s decision to give up the captain’s role following the series defeat in South Africa.

Speaking to icc-cricket.com, Ponting said, “Yes, it did actually (surprise me)…Probably the main reason why is I had a chat and good catch-up with Virat during the first part of the IPL (2021) before it got postponed.

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

“He was talking then about stepping away (from captaincy) from white-ball cricket and how passionate he was to continue on to be Test match captain. He just loved and cherished that job and that post so much. Obviously, the Indian Test team had achieved a lot under his leadership. When I heard it, I was really, really surprised,” Ponting said.

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The Australian praised Kohli and his achievements as captain. He said before Virat Kohli came in, India used to win a lot of games at home, but not many overseas. “The thing that improved the most was India winning a few more games overseas, and that’s something that he (Virat) and all of the Indian cricket have to be really proud of,” said Ponting.

The Australian said the BCCI focused more on Test cricket under Kohli’s captainship and the attention shifted to winning more games home and away.

Also read: ‘Not here to butter everyone’s toast’: Shastri hits back at Ashwin

Talking about his own days as captain of the Australian team, Pointing said he thinks he served as the captain “a couple of years longer than” he should have.

The Australian, regarded one of the best captains in cricketing history, said India is the most difficult team to captain because of the huge fan following and emotional attachment people have to the game and its icons. “So I think there is potentially a shelf-life for international cricket captains and even coaches. Virat’s been there for close to seven years now. If there’s a country in the world that’s the most difficult to captain, it’s probably India because of just how popular the game is and how much every single Indian loves to see the fortunes of the Indian cricket team, whether they are good or bad. You weigh all those things up,” he said.

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