T20 World Cup 2021: ‘This was right time to manage my workload’, says Virat Kohli as he bids farewell to T20I captaincy

Virat Kohli | Getty

Team India on Monday (November 8) registered a consolation nine-wicket victory over Namibia in Virat Kohli’s last game as a T20I captain to end their underwhelming T20 World Cup 2021 campaign on a high.

Opting to bowl first, the Men in Blue restricted Namibia to 132/8 in 20 overs and then chased down the total with 28 balls to spare.

Speaking after the game, Kohli said it has been a honor for him to lead the side in the shortest format but he added the time was right to relinquish the highly demanding role.

“Relief firstly (on leaving T20I captaincy). It’s been a honor but things need to be kept at the right perspective. I felt this was the right time to manage my workload. It’s been six or seven years of heavy workload and there is a lot of pressure,” he said at the presentation ceremony.

Notably, Indian team was outclassed by Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two games of the Super 12 stage. Kohli and company may have bounced back in the tournament by thrashing Afghanistan and Scotland, but their semi-final hopes weren’t in their own hands anymore.

With New Zealand defeating Afghanistan in their Super 12 clash, India’s dream of qualifying to the semi-final diminished. The game against Namibia was a dead-rubber contest at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“The guys have been fantastic, I know we haven’t got the results here but we have played some really good cricket. The guys have really made my work easier. The way we played the last three games, it’s a game of margins – T20 cricket these days. Two overs of attacking cricket at the top is what we were missing in the first two games. As I said, we weren’t brave enough in those games and in the group we were in, it was tough,” Kohli added.

Ravi Shastri’s tenure as India’s head coach ended with the T20 World Cup 2021 and he will be replaced by Rahul Dravid. Besides Shastri, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar also finished their stints as bowling coach and fielding coach of the Indian cricket team, respectively.

“A big thank you to all those guys (Ravi Shastri and his support staff). They have done a great job over the years, creating such a wonderful environment for the players. People loved to get back to the atmosphere. They have done a really great job,” Kohli praised Shastri and his support staff.

Virat Kohli further said he will stop playing cricket the day his aggression and intensity decreases on the field.

“That (his aggression) is never going to change. The day it does, I’ll stop playing cricket. Even before I became captain, I have always loved to contribute in some way or the other.”