Rohit Sharma named India's new T20 captain, replacing Kohli

Published November 9, 2021
In this file photo, India's new cricket captain Rohit Sharma raises his bat to celebrate scoring a century in a match against Sri Lanka in Indore, India. — AP/File
In this file photo, India's new cricket captain Rohit Sharma raises his bat to celebrate scoring a century in a match against Sri Lanka in Indore, India. — AP/File

Rohit Sharma has been named the new captain of India's T20 side, replacing Virat Kohli, the cricket board said on Tuesday after the side were dumped out of the World Cup.

The Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) tweeted that the 34-year-old opening batsman was “named the T20I (Twenty20 International) Captain for India” as it announced the squad for an upcoming tour by New Zealand.

Kohli, who took over T20I captaincy in 2017, had announced his decision to step down in September, citing his “immense workload”. He remains the skipper of the One-Day and Test teams.

The announcement follows news that former batting legend Rahul Dravid was replacing Ravi Shastri as the coach for all formats following the World Cup, where India failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

The right-handed Sharma, known for his hard hitting, made his debut in 2007 for the national team, initially playing limited-overs cricket before being included in the Test team in 2013.

Sharma also captained the Mumbai Indians to victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) five times. Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Kohli, have never won the title.

Kohli was also not named in the T20 squad for the New Zealand tour to give the batsman time to rest. Also left out were pace bowlers Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah as well as bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

The tour by New Zealand begins on November 17 with the first of three T20 games followed by two Test matches.

Sharma has played 116 T20 international matches, scoring 3,029 runs and averages over 32.

He has amassed 9,205 runs in 227 One-Day Internationals and 3,047 from 43 Test matches at an average of nearly 47.

India faced sharp criticism at home over their dismal performance in the T20 World Cup, including their humiliating defeat at the hands of arch-rival Pakistan as well as New Zealand.

Read: Indian bowler Mohammed Shami 'horribly abused' online after Pakistan humiliation

But Shastri said on Monday after his last game in charge after five years that the current team was “one of the great cricket teams in the history of the game”.

“We might not have won this World Cup, but I think going forward we'll continue to have a strong team because the IPL (Indian Premier League) throws a lot of young players into the mix. Rahul [Dravid] will have his own ideas on how to take this team forward,” Shastri said.

“I think in Rohit you've got a very capable guy. He's won so many IPLs. He's the vice-captain of this side. He's waiting in the wings to take that job,” Shastri added.

Kohli tweeted on Monday: “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. “

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