‘When I left Test captaincy, only MS Dhoni messaged me’: Virat Kohli after India’s defeat to Pakistan

ndian star Virat Kohli had a great time with the bat in the recently-concluded Super 4 match against Pakistan on Sunday at Asia Cup 2022. Though the Men in Blue lost the fixture by five wickets, but Kohli’s back-to-back half-century gave positive vibes to Indian management, especially considering the upcoming T20 World Cup in October.

After top-scoring for India, Kohli, who was addressing his first press conference since stepping down as India’s captain from all formats, dropped a bombshell claiming no one, apart from former captain MS Dhoni, messaged him after he quit Test leadership.

“Let me tell you one thing: when I left Test captaincy, I got a message from only one person with whom I had played previously; that was MS Dhoni. Many people have my number. On TV, people give lots of suggestions, people have a lot to say. But none of the people who had my number sent me a message,” said Kohli.

After the match, Kohli addressed a press conference, where he revealed that only MS Dhoni texted him when he left the Test captaincy in January this year. He also shed light on how he sees things, and how suggestions are best when given in a 1-1 capacity rather than in front of the entire world.

“When I left Test captaincy, I only received a message from one person and I have played with that person in the past. That person is MS Dhoni, anyone else did not message me. Many people have my number, and there are many people who give me suggestions on the TV. There was just MS Dhoni who messaged me, many people have my number, but they did not text me. When you have genuine respect and connection with someone, you are able to see that because there is security from both sides,” said Kohli during a post-match press conference.

“I don’t want anything from him and he does not want anything from me. I was never insecure from him and he was never of me. I can just say that if I want to say something to someone, I will reach out individually. Even if you want to help. If you want to give a suggestion to me in front of the TV or the whole world, it does not hold any value to me. You can talk 1-1, I see things with utmost honesty. It is not like I do not care, but you see the things how they are. God gives you everything, only God helps you achieve success and it is all in his hands,” he further added.

Kohli had stepped down from T20 captaincy after the World Cup and then he was removed as the ODI skipper in the same year as selectors wanted the same captain for white-ball formats. Kohli then stepped down as Test captain after a series defeat against South Africa.

Talking about the match against Pakistan, Arshdeep Singh had dropped a crucial catch in the 18th over of the innings and this really proved to be a deciding factor.

Talking about this moment, Kohli said: “Anyone can commit the mistake, the situation was tight. It was a high-pressure game and mistakes can happen. I still remember I was playing my first Champions Trophy and the match was against Pakistan, I had played a very bad shot against Shahid Afridi. I was watching the ceiling till 5 am, I was not able to sleep and I thought my career is over but these things are natural. Seniors players get around you, there is a good team environment right now, I give the credit to the captain and coach. The players learn from their mistakes. So one must accept his mistake, address it and look forward to being in that pressure situation once again.”

Talking about Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, the former skipper said: “Both Hardik and Suryakumar Yadav have been brilliant. Hardik has realised his potential fully. From the IPL that happened this time around, he has become a different character, very responsible and very aware of his abilities. That is the difference I see, he realises what he can do as an all-rounder and he is working as hard as I have ever seen him. To play like this and get back to full bowling fitness will be a massive factor. And Suryakumar, I do not think there are hardly any players in world cricket who can play like that, once he gets going, he can take the game away,”

Ahead of the Asia Cup, Kohli had admitted how he did not pick up the bat while he was away from the game. In a startling revelation, Kohli said that for the first time in a long while, there were times when he did not feel like training or practicing, which took everyone by surprise. But now having returned to the team after a six-week gap, Kohli is fresh, re-energised and on the way back up.

“I was able to find that excitement back. And when I came here, the environment was very welcoming, the camaraderie with the boys is amazing, the environment in the team is amazing. I am absolutely loving playing at the moment again and I am feeling good with the way I am batting,” he said.

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