Virat Kohli on Monday said that it was the right time for him to relinquish T20 International captaincy so as to manage his workload after India failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup semi-finals in a disappointing campaign.
India beat minnows Namibia by nine wickets, courtesy half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (56) and KL Rahul (54 not out) in their final Super 12 match to end their campaign on a winning note.
“Relief firstly. As I said it’s been an honour, but things have to be kept in the right perspective,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony when asked about any emotions on stepping down from T20I captaincy.
“This was the right time for me to manage my workload. It’s been six-seven years of intense cricket every time we take the field and it takes a lot out of you.”
Kohli said it has been “great fun” with a “great bunch” of players in the team.
“We’ve really performed well as a team. I know we have not gone far in this World Cup, but we have had some good results in T20 and enjoyed playing together.
“It’s a game of margins, T20 cricket. You talk about two overs of cricket with intent in the first two games and things could have been different. We were not brave enough as I said. We are not a team that will give excuse of tosses.”
He thanked outgoing head coach Ravi Shashtri and other support staff for their contributions to Indian cricket.
“Big thank you to all those guys, they’ve done a tremendous job all these years keeping the group together. Great environment with them around, they were an extended part of our bigger family.
“They’ve contributed immensely to Indian cricket as well. A big thank you to all of them from all of us.”
Asked if he would continue to show the same on-field intensity even as just a player, he said, “That’s never going to change. If I can’t do that I will not play anymore. Even when I wasn’t captain before I was always keen to see where the game is going.
“I’m not going to stand around and do nothing.”
On the rationale behind sending Suryakumar Yadav as number 3 batter instead of him, Kohli said, “Surya didn’t get much time, it’s a T20 World Cup and I thought it might be a nice memory of him to take back.
“As a youngster, you want to take back some good memories from a World Cup.”