Virat Kohli has resigned as captain of India’s Test team, effective immediately, a day after India lost the Test series to South Africa 2-1 with a seven-wicket defeat in Cape Town. When MS Dhoni announced his retirement in Australia in early 2015, Kohli took over as full-time Test captain and has held the position ever since.
Kohli’s surprise announcement follows a recent saga between him and the BCCI, which began with his T20I resignation before the 2021 World Cup. The BCCI then relieved Kohli of the ODI captaincy in early December, naming Rohit Sharma as the new white-ball leader.
A day later, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly stated that he had asked Kohli not to resign as T20I captain, but Kohli quickly contradicted Ganguly, stating that his decision to resign was “received well,” described as “progressive” by the BCCI top brass and that he “wasn’t told to reconsider” his decision.
In the same press conference, Kohli expressed his disappointment, claiming that he was informed of his removal as ODI captain just 90 minutes before the selection meeting to select the Test squad for South Africa, and that “there was no prior communication to me at all.”
When chief selector Chetan Sharma announced the ODI squad for the South Africa tour on December 31, he said “everyone present in the meeting” asked Kohli to reconsider his decision to step down as T20I captain.
His Achievements as a Captain
All of this, combined with Kohli’s unwavering and aggressive leadership, resulted in India becoming the top-ranked Test team. But, looking beyond the feelings and hostility, the cold, hard numbers tell a story that isn’t much different than what the eye sees—Kohli was by far the best Indian captain, and he was in the extremely august company among his contemporaries.
Kohli is far ahead of his contemporaries in terms of win percentage. He has captained India in 68 matches, winning 40, losing 17, and drawing 11. This translates to a win percentage of 58.82, which is significantly higher than Joe Root’s (44.26), the only current Test captain whose numbers are comparable to Kohli’s.
By any measure, he was India’s best captain by a long shot. Dhoni (27 wins from 60 matches) and Ganguly (21 wins from 49 matches) are the next two on the list. India’s next Test assignment is a two-match series against Sri Lanka at home in February-March, during which Kohli will play his 100th Test.