India vs SA 2021-22: Virat Kohli says he’s ‘available’ for SA ODIs, dismisses talk of rift with Rohit Sharma


Team India red-ball captain Virat Kohli has clarified that he will be available for the entire tour of South Africa, including the three ODIs possibly under new captain Rohit Sharma. It was speculated that Kohli had asked for leave from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the third Test to celebrate daughter Vamika’s first birthday.

“I was and I am available for selection all this time. You should not be asking me these questions, you should ask those who are writing these stories and sources. All these people who are writing are not credible. I was always keen to play ODIs,” Kohli said in a virtual media conference from Mumbai, ahead of the team’s departure for South Africa.

Kohli cleared the air that he was not annoyed with the BCCI for sacking him as the ODI captain after he quit the T20 leadership.

“I was contacted only one and half hours before selection committee meet about the ODI captaincy. The chief selector discussed the Test team only with me. Before ending the call, the selectors told me I won’t be ODI captain and I was fine with it. There was no prior communication,” Kohli revealed.

The revelation is contradictory to what BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had claimed on the ODI captaincy issue. Kohli said that he took a lot of pride in leading the Indian side.

“I have taken a lot of pride in being the captain of the Indian team and I’ve done the best as I could. My motivation to do well will not dip at all. One thing I will say about captaincy is I have been absolute honest to this job,” he added.

“And there was no prior communication with me since I announced the T20I captaincy decision up till December 8. I was told the five selectors decided that I would not be told that I will not be ODI captain. Which I replied ‘okay fine’,” he further said. “And in the selection call afterwards we chatted about it briefly this is what happened, there was no communication prior to that at all,” Kohli claimed.

‘No problem between me and Rohit’

Over the last two days, speculation has been rife that not all is well between Kohli and Rohit, who will not play the Tests due to a hamstring injury. Shortly before the T20 World Cup got underway in the UAE, Kohli had announced his decision to step down as India’s T20I captain after the tournament.

“No problem between me and Rohit, have been clarifying for two years. I am tired now,” Kohli said.

India will play three Tests against South Africa, starting December 26, followed by as many ODIs in January.

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