BCCI unlikely to counter Kohli’s claims before SA series

Written by Vipin Darwade

India captain Virat Kohli’s eyeball-grabbing media conference has forced a shell-shocked Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) into a huddle as it explores its options on how to deal with the crisis ahead of an important Test series.

The Indian Test captain said that he was never asked “not to quit T20 captaincy”, contrary to what BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said to various media outlets.

There are hardly any instances in the past where it becomes a choice between a statement made by a sitting captain against a former skipper, who holds the chair of the president.

It is understood that no one in BCCI is happy at what transpired on Wednesday but also understand that a strong reaction at this juncture could be counter-productive.

While Kohli reached South Africa this evening, the board president, in Kolkata, made it clear that he will make no public statement on the raging debate in Indian cricket currently.

“No statements, no press conference. We will deal with it, leave it to (the) BCCI,” Ganguly said.

It is learnt that the senior BCCI office-bearers, including Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah interacted over a zoom call on Wednesday, where a collective decision was taken that none of the board members would speak at a press conference or issue a press release.

“Expert opinion was taken on how to deal with the sensitive matter as it also involves the respect of a president’s office. The BCCI knows that a Test series is round the corner and any hasty decision or statement from them could affect the morale of the team,” a senior BCCI said.

As of now, neither Ganguly nor Shah might speak to Kohli.

A centrally contracted player is prohibited from to making any critical comments about the establishment or the office-bearers.

Kohli, who has been doing press interviews for more than 13 years now, knew exactly what was coming, and he was prepared.

The 33-year-old was in charge at a press meet that the board had organised, and an articulate manner, put forth his views on three issues.

Firstly, rubbishing the rumours about his non-participation in the three ODIs, secondly, inform the world how he was told about his removal as ODI captain 90 minutes before a team selection meeting and lastly, contradicting Ganguly on whether he was asked to stay on as T20 skipper.

Kohli didn’t express any displeasure at his removal as the captain of the shorter formats, which he said was understandable due to a lack of ICC silverware.

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Vipin Darwade