In midway during a triangular series between India-West Indies-SriLanka in 2013, Virat led the Indian team in the ODI series due to the injury of MS Dhoni. In the next two matches as a captain, he scored centuries and led from the front to help the Men in Blue win the final of the triangular series. Although he was just a stand-in keeper in the series, his aggression in captaincy was visible to the cricket fans. And once he was appointed as the permanent ODI and T20 captain, he always led the team in the best possible way.
Under Virats's leadership, India became an even stronger team. Leading from the front, Virat showcased a great example of leadership to the whole world. He built a team of youngsters who would help India become the number 1 ODI team. His team's consistent dominance was visible when India reached at least the semi-final of all the ICC tournaments, barring the 2021 T20 world cup. However, India could never lift an ICC title under his leadership.
Eventually, the greatest batsman in all formats Virat decided to quit his captaincy in T20's after the T20 world cup 2021, which came off as a shock for his fans. Another shocking news for the fans came when he was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain for the South African tour in 2021. The permanent ODI captain from the 2016 Pune match, to the 2021 Pune match, Virat was no more a captain of the Indian side.
His appointment as a captain of the Indian side was something everyone expected. However, his exit as the limited over captain was a shock to all the Men in Blue fans. The change in captaincy was not addressed by the BCCI, who didn't give any official press release. The unprofessionalism of the cash-rich body was visible to the fans.
Furthermore, the contrasting statements from Virat and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly added to the confusion when the later said it was the former's voluntary decision to step down as a captain when he requested the former not to step down. But Virat refuted claims in the press conference stating that he was never asked to continue as a captain, and was told by the selectors only a couple of hours before the announcement, to which he obliged due to his inability to win ICC tournaments.
The communication gap between the players and the management of the cash-rich body was visible. The lack of transparency and the haste in which the decisions were taken sounded fishy. The Board for Control of Cricket in India failed miserably to take its players into confidence before taking such an important decision. The Board's inability was seen by the entire cricketing world, who got divided into two groups immediately. One group supported the decision of BCCI, the other one supported Virat. But both the groups were sure about one thing, the lack of communication from either of the ends led to such abrupt actions.
Furthermore, the Indian media did exactly what they are known for, adding fuel to the fire. Their unverified theories from their so-called "sources" started circulating on the internet. The media, again in an attempt to spice up the things, created stories of unrest between the former and the current skipper of Men in Blue, which Virat denied. The media has been doing it since the 2019 world cup, in an unsuccessful attempt to prove so. But they have successfully divided Indian cricket fans into two groups, Virat fans and Rohit fans, just for some TRP.
For the past few days, these groups have consistently bashed the other one, forgetting that all of them are Indian cricket team fans first, and secondly the player's fans. The groups have gone to the worst possible extent where they could be seen to rejoice in the failure of the other player. Despite both the champion players refuting the claims of Media time and again, few of the fans are not ready to understand, creating a rift, not between the players, but their fans.
Instead of rejoicing the fact of having two world-class batsmen and leaders in one single team at the same time in the form of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, these so-called fake fans are fighting amongst themselves to prove who is the best. These things were already enough to hurt the fanbase of Men in Blue and were significantly contributed by BCCI later by such poor decision making with improper planning.
Knowing the leadership qualities of Rohit, and his history of IPL titles, it was only a matter of time before he replaced Virat in the limited-overs as the permanent skipper of the Indian side. In a matter of a few days, it would have happened anyway. But it all happening in such a short time, with so much chaos is not expected. The BCCI is responsible for all these happenings. Although, both, Virat and Rohit have handled the situation with extreme maturity, stating that both of them would give their 100% for the team, the improper planning of BCCI could have cost us the beautiful team to be scattered in groups.
No one thought the year to end this way. The year started with Men in Blue winning Border Gavaskar Trophy and breaching the Aussie fortress Gabba with a young side. The dominant Indian side looked perfect in all the formats. The team, which was made with so many efforts, almost seemed to be on the verge of breaking when this happened. Hopefully, it doesn't happen. Alongside, instead of our people fighting in groups supporting Virat or Rohit, one would like everyone to unite and support Men in Blue every single time they step on the field, irrespective of who the captain is. Also one would hope, the richest cricketing body in the world to take decisions with planning after gaining the confidence of key players. All in all, in the end, we Indians want our team to be the best, which they have proved to be time and again. Let's hope we get to witness the same against South Africa when India win the first test series on South African soil. I support Men in Blue and will continue to do so.
Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, Host, Poet, Entertainer )
Insta I'd:- cricket_creativity