Kohli on Saturday announced that he is stepping down as the captain of the Indian Test team. Last year, the 33-year-old had stepped down as the T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI leader as the selectors wanted one captain for the white-ball format.
“Although I also am shocked by @imVkohli sudden decision, I respect his call. I can only applaud him for what he has done for world cricket & India. Easily one of the most aggressive and fittest players India has had. Hope he’d continue to shine for India as a player,” Raina tweeted.
Kohli’s decision to leave Test captaincy comes a day after India lost the three-match Test series against South Africa on Friday.
Virat Kohli’s biggest win in the longest format came during 2018-19 as India won its first Test series Down Under. Under his captaincy, India also reached the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC).
“It’s been 7 years of hard work, toil, and relentless perseverance every day to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it’s now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief. I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can’t do that, I know it’s not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team,” Kohli said in a statement.
“I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision I bad for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi Bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test Cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a Captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian Cricket forward,” he added.
Kohli holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68) and he also holds the record for most Test wins by an Indian captain (40). Only Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh have won more matches than Kohli as captain in Test cricket.
Kohli had first led the side in Test cricket in 2014 against Australia. His last game as captain was the Cape Town Test in South Africa, which India lost by seven wickets. Filling the shoes of MS Dhoni was not going to be easy, but Kohli took leadership by storm, and quickly, he cemented himself as one of the best thinkers the country has seen in Test cricket.
The leadership also brought out the best in Kohli and it saw the batter registering seven double-centuries in the longest format of the game. Kohli also holds the record for scoring most Test centuries (20) as India captain.