Virat Kohli says he was informed of ODI captaincy sacking 90 minutes before announcement

Star batsman says he is available for South Africa ODIs and backs new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - India v Pakistan - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - June 16, 2019   India's Rohit Sharma celebrates his century with Virat Kohli   Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo
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Star India batsman Virat Kohli on Wednesday revealed he was informed of his removal from India ODI captaincy just 90 minutes before the official announcement.

Kohli had quit as T20 captain after the recent World Cup in the UAE, but has expressed his desire to continue as Test and ODI leader.

However, last week he lost the ODI top job too, with the Indian cricket board making the announcement in one line at the bottom of a press release about the Test squad for the upcoming tour of South Africa, stating Rohit Sharma will lead both white-ball sides.

“I was contacted one and a half hours before the selection meeting on the [December] 8th for the Test series and there was no prior communication to me at all,” Kohli said on Wednesday before the team's departure for South Africa, where they will play three Tests and three ODIs.

“Before ending the call I was told that the five selectors had decided that I would not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, 'OK fine'," the 33-year-old said.

“When I decided to leave the T20 captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well,” Kohli added. “There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn't told to reconsider it. It was received well; I was told it's progressive and in the right direction.”

His statement contradicts that of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who said that he had requested Kohli to reconsider his decision to step down as T20 captain.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli confirmed his availability for the one-day leg of the team's South Africa tour and denied reports of a rift with Sharma.

“I was always available,” Kohli said. “You should not be asking me this question, honestly … I am available for selection for the ODIs in South Africa and I'm always keen to play.

“Nothing can derail me from being motivated to play for India,” he said. “I am very focused and mentally prepared and very excited to go to South Africa and do the best that I can for my team.

“Rohit is a very able captain and very, very tactically sound. We have seen that in the games that he captained for India and in the IPL as well. There is no problem between me and Rohit. I have been clarifying for the last two and a half years or so. I'm really tired.”

Updated: December 15, 2021, 11:27 AM