Former India head coach Ravi Shastri says Virat Kohli might give up captaincy in other formats after doing so in the T20 version to deal with the intense pressure associated with the job, especially in Covid-19 times.
Shastri`s tenure with the Indian team ended with an early exit from T20 World Cup. Kohli, who has taken rest for the T20 series and one Test against New Zealand to recover bubble fatigue in Covid-19 times, has relinquished captaincy in the shortest format after the showpiece event.
Speaking to India Today, Shastri was asked about Kohli giving up captaincy in other formats to manage his workload better. “In red-ball cricket, India has been number one for the last five years under his captaincy. Unless he wants to give it up or he is mentally fatigued where he says he wants to focus on my batting which can happen in the near future.
“It won`t happen immediately but it can happen. The same might happen with white-ball cricket, he might say he had enough and he focuses on Test captaincy. It is his mind and body that will make that decision. He won`t be the first. “A lot of successful players have given up captaincy to focus on their batting for their side.”
Shastri said Kohli remains the fittest cricketer in the team by far.
“He is hungry for sure, fitter than anybody in the team. No doubt about that. When you are physically that fit, your longevity only increases. On the captaincy part of it, it will be his decision but I see if anything he might say no to white ball cricket but red ball, he should carry on because he has been the best ambassador for the test cricket. That will make him carry on,” said Shastri.
Shastri also foresees many players in the team, including Kohli taking long breaks to recover from bubble fatigue. He also spoke on the relevance of split captaincy in Covid-19 times. “Especially, in these times it will reduce the pressure on the individual. A lot of players will take breaks. I foresee lot of plays wanting breaks and rightly so. You need to switch off from the game from time to time.”
Shastri reiterated that playing World Cup right after IPL was not ideal for the team but didn`t want to blame BCCI as the re-scheduling happened because of Covid-19. “I won`t say that but because IPL was cancelled in April, they had no choice. But I don`t think that will happen in the future. Kapil is right about the scheduling part because it will take its toll,” he said when asked to comment on Kapil Dev`s statement on players prioritising IPL over country.
“It is not just the BCCI, every board has to be careful on scheduling. Don`t forget, we play more cricket than any other team in the world, if you add the IPL.”
New Zealand and Australia face in the final on Sunday. “The teams that are playing in the final on Sunday, they have hardly played in the last 6 months and you can see the difference. They have played enough to keep themselves sharp but they have got enough round of rest, at times forced as well,” Shastri said
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