I’m available for South Africa ODIs, never asked for leave: Kohli

Team India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday clarified that he will be available for the entire tour of South Africa and also opened up on the reports of a rift between him and Rohit Sharma.

Although several reports had speculated that Kohli had asked for leave from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the Test series to celebrate daughter Vamika’s first birthday, the reb-ball India skipper refuted all the claims.

“I was and I am available for selection all this time. You should not be asking me these questions, you should ask those who are writing these stories and sources. All these people who are writing are not credible. I was always keen to play ODIs,” Kohli said in a virtual media conference from Mumbai, ahead of the team’s departure for South Africa.

Meanwhile, Kohli also said he was not disappointed with the BCCI for removing him as Team India’s ODI captain after he had quit the T20I leadership.

“I was contacted only one and half hours before selection committee meet about the ODI captaincy. The chief selector discussed the Test team only with me. Before ending the call, the selectors told me I won’t be ODI captain and I was fine with it. There was no prior communication,” Kohli revealed.

Kohli also said that he took a lot of pride in leading the Indian side.

“I have taken a lot of pride in being the captain of the Indian team and I’ve done the best as I could. My motivation to do well will not dip at all. One thing I will say about captaincy is I have been absolute honest to this job,” he added.

Further openeing up on the reports of a rift between him and newly appointed ODI skipper Rohit Sharma, Kohli said: “There is no problem between me and Rohit Sharma – I have been clarifying since the last 2.5 years – I am literally tired”.

India is scheduled to tour South Africa from December 26 for a three Test series which will be followed by the ODIs.

Earlier, several former cricketers spoke on the matter with former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin saying that such reports will only give rise to speculations of a rift between two senior players while Kirti Azad felt that the feud would not be healthy for India in long run.

“Virat Kohli has informed that he’s not available for the ODI series & Rohit Sharma is unavailable fr d upcoming test. There is no harm in taking a break but d timing has to be better. This just substantiates speculation abt d rift. Neither will be giving up d other form of cricket,” Azharuddin had expressed on reports of Kohli skipping the ODIs.

While reacting to Azharuddin’s statement, Kirti Azad said: “If Rohit and Virat are not playing together then the team will suffer later, they will themselves suffer first. One player will replace another. No one is indispensable. Many greats have come and gone. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly.”

“So, they will suffer first if they do not play in each other’s captaincy,” he added.

Last week, Rohit was appointed as the captain of Team India for the upcoming ODI series and was also promoted to the role of the vice captain for India’s Test team.

However, Rohit was later ruled out of the Test series due to a hamstring injury and was replaced by opening batter Priyank Panchal, who was part of India A tour to the Proteas side earlier this month.

News Desk

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