Virat Kohli Steps Down As India Test Captain

CAPE TOWN- Virat Kohli on Saturday dropped a bombshell by quitting Test captaincy following the unexpected series defeat against South Africa.

Kohli was appointed Test captain back in 2014 when M S Dhoni stepped down in the middle of the series against Australia.

"Every thing 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 there has never been lack of effort or lack of belief," Kohli wrote in a statement which he posted on Twitter, taking everyone by surprise.

His shock announcement came a day after India lost the Test series in South Africa 1-2.

Kohli led India to the top of world rankings and during his tenure, the team recorded a memorable series win in Australia.

The 33-year old had recently quit as T20 captain and was later sacked at ODI captain by the BCCI.

Below is his statement:

“It's been 7 years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction. I've done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Every thing 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.

“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 had 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.”

Former Players React To Kohli's Decision

Various former India cricketers have taken to Twitter to express their views.

Former India batter Suresh Raina on Saturday said that he is shocked to see Virat Kohli stepping down as the Test captain.

"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.

"When Virat took over as Test captain, India winning a Test overseas was an achievement, now if India lose an overseas Test series it is an upset. And that's how far he has taken Indian cricket forward, and that will be his legacy. Congratulations on successful reign," wrote former India opener Wasim Jaffer.

The great Virender Sehwag wrote: Many Congratulations #ViratKohli on an outstanding career as India's Test Captain. Stats don't lie & he was not only the most successful Indian Test Captain but one of the most successful in the world. Can be very proud @imVkohli & looking forward to watch u dominate with the bat."

"It's always an honour to lead the dynamic Indian team. And the decision to step down is an emotional heavy moment. A journey well-travelled," added former India skipper Mohamad Azharuddin.

Former India pacer Irfan Pathan wrote: "Whenever the talk of Indian cricket captains will arise in Test cricket @imVkohli's name will be up there, not only for results but the kind of impact he had as a captain. Thank you #ViratKohli."

Meanwhile, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that there is no doubt that Virat Kohli is the most successful Indian team captain and cricket in the country would continue to thrive under his mentorship and batting skills.

Dhumal's remarks came as Kohli stepped down as India's Test captain after leading the side for seven years. "Virat beyond doubt is the most successful Indian cricket team captain. We respect his decision and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours as a batter. I am sure under his leadership, mentorship and with his batting skills, Indian cricket would keep doing well," Dhumal said.

The BCCI tweeted: “BCCI congratulates #TeamIndia captain @imVkohli for his admirable leadership qualities that took the Test team to unprecedented heights. He led India in 68 matches and has been the most successful captain with 40 wins.”

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