Virat Kohli will be looking for a perfect ending to his leadership of India’s Twenty20 team as he chases a shifty first major title at the World Cup.
The legendary cricketer will step down as T20 skipper after the 16-nation tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman that begins on Sunday.
The 32-year-old prolific run-scorer has also quit as captain of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore and many have welcomed his decision to focus more on his batting.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan said Kohli can go into the World Cup, which will start for them against Pakistan on October 24, with no pressure and that will be good for the team. Virat Kohli had also been at the centre of escalating hfspeculation in recent months as the wait for success increased.
“India will do well with the side, the confidence, and the experience they have.” “I think he will enjoy his cricket more now after taking this decision,” Pathan, who played a key role in India’s inaugural T20 World Cup triumph in 2007, told AFP.
Kohli became captain across all formats after M.S. Dhoni renounced his limited-overs leadership in 2017. But Indian team has not won a World Cup or Champions Trophy since.
Kohli shall remain to have Dhoni by his side as the former captain, who led India to the T20 title in 2007 and the 50-over crown in 2011, is the team mentor for the tournament.
Kohli was closing in on his India debut when Dhoni’s team created history by winning the first world T20 title in Johannesburg.
After making his ODI debut in 2008, Kohli soon managed to create his own brand of cricket but has faced pressure over his failure to win a global title.
India, the hosts and led by Dhoni, lost in the semi-finals to eventual winners West Indies despite an unbeaten 89 by Kohli in 2016.
India also bowed out in the final four three years later, under Kohli, in the ODI World Cup. India remains one of the favourites to lift the T20 trophy in Dubai on November 14 alongside holders West Indies and Eoin Morgan’s England.
Pitched against old rivals Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two other qualifying teams in Group B, India are hoping for a smooth path to the semi-finals.
“I will always want India to win, but West Indies will be one of the favourites,” added Pathan.