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Most aggressive and successful Indian test captain Virat Kohli resigns

Cricketing star and Indian test captain, Virat Kohli has resigned as captain of the Indian test team on Saturday, 15 January with immediate effect. Kohli released a statement on his social media channels a day after India's 2-1 series loss to South Africa in Cape Town, stating he would be stepping down from the role he has held on a permanent basis since 2015.  Kohli has been the most successful Indian cricket test captain of all time with 40 wins in 68 Tests. He also led India to a historic Test series win in Australia, and the Indian test team reached the top of the ICC Test rankings under his leadership.

Most aggressive and successful Indian test captain Virat Kohli resigns

Kohli’s social media post read: “Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it's now. There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief. I have always believed in giving my 120 percent in everything I do, and if I can't do that, I know it's not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.

"I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the teammates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation. You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful,” the message read.

"To Ravi Bhai (Ravi Shastri) and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test Cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life. Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian Cricket forward.”

Having taken over as the Test captain from MS Dhoni in 2014 in Australia, Kohli hit back-to-back hundreds in Adelaide to start off his stint at the helm. He would lead India to their first-ever Test series win in Australia four years later. Under him, India also reached the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

Kohli had given up T20I captaincy in September after the 2021 T20 World Cup, and was succeeded as skipper in the shorter format by Rohit Sharma. While the 33-year-old Kohli’s seven-year stint as India’s Test captain ended with a series defeat in South Africa, his overall reign as India test captain yielded historically successful results.

No player in history has more Test caps as India captain than Kohli’s 68, while his 40 wins as captain is the most of any Indian Test player. Those 40 wins also make Kohli the fourth most successful captain in Test history ever, behind only Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh.

Since becoming India captain, Kohli turned the team into a dominant force in world Test cricket, losing just five of 24 Test series, including the one-off ICC World Test Championship Final in 2021, and the most recent series in South Africa.

During that period Kohli led India to the top of the ICC Test Rankings, a spot which the team held for 42 consecutive months from October 2016 through to March 2020. At home India won all 11 Test series under Kohli’s stewardship, while away from home he oversaw India's first ever series win in Australia in 2018/19.

Kohli also took India to the brink of a series win in England in 2021, with his side leading 2-1 with one postponed Test still to play, and captained India to the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Kohli also excelled as a batter while captain, scoring 20 of his 27 Test centuries while leading the team, the most of any India captain in history.

As Test leader, he scored 5864 runs in 68 matches at an average of 54.80. And at home those figures are even more eye-catching, with Kohli racking up 2907 runs in 31 Tests in India at an average of 67.60, including 10 Test centuries. Kohli was also a significant contributor with the bat while Test captain outside India as well, scoring centuries and averaging comfortably over 40 in Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

As ODI captain Kolhi won 65 of his 95 matches, the highest win percentage of any Indian captain to have led the team for more than 10 matches. During that period India won 15 of their 19 ODI series. With the white ball, Kohli also excelled as India captain despite a lack of silverware during his tenure, with defeats in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup and the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy leaving India’s men without an international tournament win since 2013.

With the bat, Kohli was remarkable during his time as ODI captain, hitting 5449 runs at an extraordinary average of 72.65 with 21 centuries. Kohli’s average is by far the highest from a captain in the history of the sport, with the next best being AB de Villiers for South Africa with 63.94. Kohli also performed well as captain in the shortest format of the international game, losing just two of the 17 T20I series during his time in charge, although the failure to progress from the group stage at the most recent ICC Men’s T20I World Cup saw his tenure end on a disappointing note.

His individual record as India’s T20I captain saw him score 1570 runs in 50 matches at an average of 47.57. Only Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch have scored more runs as an international T20 captain, with both doing so from a larger number of innings at a significantly lower average. Having already stepped down as T20I captain in September 2021 and then being replaced as ODI captain in December 2021, Kohli’s decision to hand over the Test captaincy brings to an end an era in Indian cricket that will go down in history as one of the most successful of all time.
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