Virat Kohli would have become India’s one-day captain in early 2012 itself had then Board of Control for Cricket in India president Narayanswamy Srinivasan not intervened, says a former national selector.
Raja Venkat, a member of the five-member selection panel in 2011-2012, also said that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian cricket team – on a tour to Australia from end of 2011 to early 2012 – was divided into several factions.
Writing a column for Bengali tabloid ‘Ebela’, the 56-year-old said the quintet of selectors had favoured Kohli as a replacement for Dhoni as they thought the youngster was the right person to restore team spirit.
Expressing his joy over the 26-year-old Kohli leading India in the ongoing one-off Test match in Bangladesh, Venkat said: “We had thought about this (of making Kohli captain) three years back, we tried also. But because of then BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan our efforts failed.”
Venkat recalled that India were then trailing 0-3 to Australia with the fourth and last Test only to be played at Adelaide.”Before that two selectors Mohinder Amarnath and Narendra Hirwani had gone to Australia. After coming back they had reported about formations of several factions within the Indian team. There was no team spirit,” Venkat wrote in the column.
“We thought before the One-Day series there was a need to choose a new captain, we were on the look out for somebody who was above factionalism. We felt Virat was the right person to restore team spirit in the side,” he said.
Venkat also said the selectors were impressed with Kohli’s captaincy for winners North Zone in the 2010-11 Deodhar Trophy.”It was then that we understood that he has it in him to become a capable skipper. His captaincy in the Under-19 World Cup (in 2008) had also caught our attention,” he said.
The former dashing Bengal left-hander said: “You cannot announce an overseas team without the BCCI president’s approval. He (Srinivasan) did not give us the nod to change the captain.”
Kohli finally led the ODI team for the first time on July 2, 2013, against Sri Lanka as Dhoni was ruled out with an injury. The prolific right-hander had to wait another year to take over the reins of the Test side when Dhoni quit mid-way in Australia in December 2014.