'Proud' Virat Kohli signs off as T20 skipper with consolation victory
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by Faisal Kamal
Dubai - Virat Kohli on Monday said it had been an "honour" to captain India's T20 side as he ended an otherwise disappointing World Cup campaign on a winning note.
India thrashed Namibia by nine wickets in Dubai to finish with three wins from five Super 12 matches.
India, who bowed out of the tournament on Sunday, eased to a target of 133 in 15.2 overs.
Kohli, who will continue to captain India in Test and ODI cricket, took over the T20 captaincy from MS Dhoni in 2017 and said it is time to manage the workload.
"It's been an honour, but things have to be kept in the right perspective. This was the right time for me to manage my workload," Kohli said.
"It's been six-seven years of intense cricket every time we take the field and it takes a lot out of you."
But the 33-year-old said his intensity on the field will remain the same.
"That's never going to change. If I can't do that I will not play anymore," said Kohli.
"Even when I wasn't captain before I was always keen to see where the game is going. I'm not going to stand around and do nothing."
Together as one we set out to achieve our goal.Unfortunately we fell short and no one is more disappointed than us as a side.The support from all of you has been fantastic and we are grateful for it all.We will aim to come back stronger and put our best foot forward. Jai Hind🇮🇳🙏 pic.twitter.com/UMUQgInHrV— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 8, 2021
He has led the team to great heights in Test and white-ball cricket but critics have always pointed at his failure to land a World Cup triumph in either T20 or ODI cricket.
Earlier this year they were also beaten by New Zealand in the first ever World Test Championship final.
The superstar batsman said his deputy Rohit Sharma had been overseeing matters going into the game.
"I was given the opportunity and I tried to do my best," Kohli said at the toss in his 50th match as T20 captain.
"But it's also time to create some space and move forward. I've been immensely proud of how the team has played.
"Now I think it's time for the next lot to take this team forward. Rohit has been looking on anyway, and Indian cricket is in good hands."
Rohit, a white-ball star and a swashbuckling opener, is the standout candidate to take over the reins with five Indian Premier League titles under his belt as captain of Mumbai Indians.
Kohli has also quit as captain of IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore and many have welcomed his decision to concentrate more on his batting.
Head coach Ravi Shastri also bid adieu to the team after working alongside Kohli for five years.
Shastri, a former India all-rounder, said he believes the current side are "one of the greatest" of all time.
"Sometimes in life, it's not about all you accomplish, it's about what you overcome," Shastri told Star Sports.
"And what these guys have overcome in the last five years, the way they've performed in all corners of the world in all formats, will make this one of the greatest teams in the history of the game."
Former batsman Rahul Dravid, who played 164 Tests and 344 ODIs for India, has been named as the new coach and will join the team ahead of the home series against New Zealand starting November 17.
"I think in Rahul Dravid they've got a guy who has inherited a great team and with his stature and experience it can only raise the bar," said Shastri.
"Virat has done a fantastic job as leader of the side, one of the best ambassadors of Test cricket. A lot of credit goes to him."
However, Shastri said the side has been drained by six months of non-stop cricket including the IPL in the UAE which ended two days ahead of the T20 World Cup.
"I am mentally drained but I expect that at my age. These guys are physically and mentally drained," said Shastri.
"We would have liked a bigger gap between IPL and this. Six months in a bubble is tough. Not an excuse, we are not scared of losing -- in trying to win you will lose a game."