Mumbai: India Test captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday addressed the media in Mumbai ahead of team’s departure for the South Africa and cleared the air over his availability for three-match ODI series against South Africa.
“I am available. Do not ask me these questions. Ask those writing these things. I am always available. A few things came out in the past as well which were also not true. People writing these, their sources are not credible. My communication with BCCI on this issue that I want to rest has not happened,” Kohli said in a press conference.
Stating the reason why he was sacked as ODI captain, Kohli said: “Reasons? Obviously we haven’t won ICC tournament. I understand the logic behind why they took it.”
Kohli explained that he was informed one and half hours before the announcement, that Rohit Sharma replacing him as an ODI captain.
“I was contacted 1.5 hours before selection committee meet. The chief selector discussed the Test team. Before ending the call, the selectors told me I won’t be ODI captain and I was fine. There was no prior communication,” he said.
BCCI, in a massive announcement last week, named batting stalwart Rohit Sharma as the new ODI captain.
Also, Kohli squashed a rumours of a rift between him and Sharma by saying, “I have been clarifying this for the past 2-3 years – there’s no issue between Rohit and me. I am tired of doing this now.”
Talking about South Africa tour, Kohli said that the team is ready to face any challenge.
“We can definitely stand up to any challenge. South Africa is one place where we have never won a Test series, so we are motivated. We will do our absolute best.
South Africa was the start of the journey, the belief that we can win everywhere. SA presents a different challenge. You have to be at your best to do well. With experience we have been handling these (difficult) conditions well. We can do something special (this time around),” he said.
“Nothing can derail me from playing for India. Lot of things happening outside are not ideal. There’s so much you can do as an individuals. You have to keep things in right perspective. I am mentally prepared and excited to do well in South Africa,” Kohli said.
“I have done the best I could. My motivation level to perform for the team will not dip. As captain, I have been honest to the responsibility, absolutely honest to the job. Batting, of course, when you have done this for a long time at the international level, you know how to perform,” he added.
Kohli stepped down as T20 captain after the conclusion of ICC T20 World Cup but he expressed his desire to continue as ODI captain.
“I had discussed about my intention to continue as ODI captain. I had communicated my desire unless office bearers, selectors don’t feel likewise. My decision to leave T20I captaincy was taken well,” Kohli said.
The Indian test skipper also wished for a speedy recovery for India’s star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who was ruled out of South Africa tour after sustaining an injury.
“Jadeja has been an important player for us. He contributes in all the department. Having said that, we have quality in the side. We have created the bench strength and environment where people have been grabbing their opportunities. I wish him (Jadeja) a speedy recovery.”
Team India will leave for South Africa on December 16 to play three-match Test series starting from December 26, followed by three-match ODI series.