A speculation that had begun taking rounds during India’s overseas calamity since 2011 World Cup would well have come true, if not for the adamance of the then BCCI president N Srinivasan, according to former national selector Raja Venkat.
MS Dhoni might have been sacked as ODI captain with Virat Kohli replacing him, had Srinivasan not vetoed a unanimous decision by the selectors.
Writing a column for Bengali tabloid “Ebela”, Raja Venkat, a former first-class cricketer, stated that the selectors favoured Kohli to lead the side as they thought that he “was not into any factions”.
Expressing his joy over Kohli becoming the Indian captain, 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.”
He recalled that India were trailing 0-3 in the 2011-12 Test series against Australia, with one match remaining to be played in 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,” wrote Venkat 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 that the selectors were impressed with Kohli’s captaincy skills in the 2010-11 Deodhar Trophy while leading North Zone.
“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.