Irfan Pathan, the former India all-rounder, expressed his surprise at the timing of Virat Kohli’s announcement to step down as India’s T20I captain. Kohli, on Thursday, September 16, officially confirmed that he’ll step down from the role after the completion of the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Virat Kohli, citing workload management and his aim to focus on his leadership role in the game’s longer versions, decided to step down from T20I captaincy after the conclusion of the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Kohli, who had first taken over as India’s Test captain during the 2014-15 Australia tour, became the team’s all-format skipper in January 2017.
Irfan Pathan was rather surprised at Kohli’s call, which came a month before the start of the T20 World Cup.
“The timing of the announcement has definitely surprised me because you normally take such calls after a tournament,” Pathan told Sportstar. “I wonder what will happen if we go on to win the T20 World Cup.
“He has been a wonderful leader and we have seen what he can do in Test cricket in terms of leadership. There will obviously be questions of him not winning ICC tournaments, but I am sure he has taken the decision after a lot of thought.”
Pathan, who was an integral part of India’s winning team at the inaugural T20 World Cup edition in 2007, hoped for Kohli to end his T20I captaincy on a high note, by winning the upcoming tournament.
“It is not an easy decision for anyone, but I hope that for the legacy of Virat, we win this World Cup. I hope he can finish it in style by winning the title,” he said.
“There will always be talks about him not winning an ICC title or an IPL trophy. But then, one must remember that he will be leading in an ICC T20 event for the first time. He is a fighter – be it as a leader or as a batsman – and I really wish him all the luck.”