Virat Kohli's removal as India ODI Captain is a throwback to Sourav Ganguly 2005

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalDec 10, 2021 | 18:17

Virat Kohli's removal as India ODI Captain is a throwback to Sourav Ganguly 2005

Fans came down heavily on BCCI and the Sourav Ganguly for removing Virat Kohli as the captain of the Indian cricket team. But did you know Sourav Ganguly was in a same position 16 years back?

After Virat Kohli was removed as the captain of the India team on December 8 and replaced by Rohit Sharma, a lot has been spoken about his rough equation with the BCCI in the last couple of days.

A PTI report says Virat Kohli was given an ultimatum of 48 hours to relinquish his captaincy and have an honourable exit. But the captain refused to do so. Having left the T20 captaincy, Kohli was assured of his performance as a batsman, and not to forget his considerable good record of winning 65 out of 95 ODI matches for India. 


What happened then was no one ever expected. In the 49th hour, the BCCI appointed Rohit Sharma as the ODI captain, sending a signal that it meant business. The erstwhile captain had to swallow a bitter pill. But why have Kohli’s credentials as a captain come in question?


After a furore on Twitter, where fans expressed their anger against BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain stood up to defend his decision to remove Virat Kohli. Speaking to PTI, Ganguly said that Kohli was asked to stay as the captain of the T20 cricket format but since he was determined to quit the captaincy, the selectors went with Rohit Sharma as the captain. Ganguly further said that having two white-ball captains was not possible, and hence the team went with Rohit Sharma as the choice for the ODI team.


Sourav Ganguly. Photo: Getty Images

People on Twitter have also reminded Ganguly of his own tumultuous days back when he was dropped from the Indian team as captain after a fallout with former coach Greg Chappell. Back in 2005, when Greg Chappell took over the Indian cricket team as the head coach, things were smooth between him and Sourav Ganguly.


But within a year, differences crept between them. In 2005, in a leaked email that was sent to the BCCI, Chappell called Sourav Ganguly “mentally and physically unfit” to lead the team. He called the injuries of Ganguly 'imaginary' and accused him of trying to retain his captaincy of the team.

Speaking on the Cricket Live Stories Podcast two months ago, in October 2021, Chappell made a bold remark on Sourav Ganguly. He said that Ganguly was never interested in improving his game; rather, he just wanted to remain as the captain so that he could control things. This was despite Greg Chappell knowing that it was actually Ganguly who was instrumental in bringing Chappell in as the coach of the Indian team much before anyone else thought of him.

Former Indian head cricket coach, Greg Chappell. Photo: Getty Images

Ganguly was unceremoniously dropped from the team as the captain in October 2005 once he was out due to an injury. Rahul Dravid, the vice-captain, was made the new captain. Chappell then backed Dravid completely, and the removal of Ganguly was also said to be his doing. After being dropped from the team, Ganguly had to face an extremely tough time where his cricketing career was on an all-time low. His performance as a captain and as a batter was below expectations, and eventually, all of this cost him his captaincy.


Though Ganguly was brought back a year later as a player, he never regained the captaincy of the Indian cricket team. His glorious stint as a fighting captain of a new Indian cricket team, which showed a spark of aggression, ended in a dismal low.


Sourav Ganguly (L) and Virat Kohli. Photos: Getty Images

It won’t be wrong to call Ganguly and Kohli players of the same clan who think along the same lines. Both of them being aggressive players on the field, the two have striking similarities.

For instance, Virat Kohli had differences with the former Indian test captain Anil Kumble when the latter was the head coach of the team in 2016. Though Kumble hasn’t spoken much about it, it is known that the fallout with Kohli was one of the reasons why Kumble quit as the coach of the Indian cricket team within one year of his appointment.

After losing the Champions Trophy final to Pakistan in 2017, the Indian cricket team went on a West Indies tour but Anil Kumble stayed behind in London on the pretext of dispensing his duties as the head of ICC’s Cricket Committee. That evening, he tendered his resignation. Though Virat Kohli has always said that things were fine with Kumble, the former coach, through his silence, has spoken a lot.

Not only Kumble, Virat Kohli is also said to have had differences with the erstwhile head coach Ravi Shastri towards his last days as the coach. Shastri, knowing of his impending departure from the team, did not speak much about it.

Shastri, in his interviews in the media, where he spoke about desired man-management skills in Kohli, bear testimony to the fact that he did have some reservations about Kohli.

Kohli, similar to Ganguly, wears his aggression on his sleeves, and that’s what makes him an almost-second Ganguly on field. Just like Ganguly, Kohli wants things done at his own dispense, and pays less heed to criticism. In a way, it won’t be wrong to say that Virat Kohli has brought back the Sourav Ganguly era where a player’s equation with his coach and his approach regularly made headlines.


Virat Kohli with the Indian Cricket team. Photo: Getty Images

Players in the Indian team dressing room, in hushed tones, have said that Virat Kohli lacks the leadership qualities that embody a captain. On September 16, PTI carried the account of a player who spoke on condition of anonymity. The player told PTI that Virat Kohli might be 'talking of clear communication but what he basically lacks is communication skills'.

Once Virat Kohli was handed over the captainship of the team, he was unreachable most of the time. Unlike MS Dhoni, who was available 24*7 for the entire team, Virat Kohli wasn’t there for his players in their tough times. In times of distress, the players found a mentor in Rohit Sharma, who would take players out for dinner, pat their back when they played well, console them when they faltered. In short, Rohit Sharma was more approachable for the young team players than Virat Kohli was.

Today, Virat Kohli is no longer the India captain. It would be interesting to see how he approaches the game, now that his shoulders have been relieved of bigger responsibilities.

Last updated: December 10, 2021 | 18:17
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy