Kohli named new India limited overs skipper

Kohli named new India limited overs skipper
Virat Kohli. (FILE PHOTO: AFP)

Virat Kohli was appointed India’s limited overs skipper on Friday after the resignation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as selectors announced the squads for their upcoming series against England.

The swashbuckling batsman, who has presided over an 18-match unbeaten run as Test captain, will lead India in three one-day internationals starting from January 15 before the sides play three Twenty20 matches.

Dhoni, who led India to victory in the 2011 World Cup as well as the 2007 World Twenty20, kept his place in both 15-men squads, the Indian board’s chief selector M.S.K Prasad announced in a televised press conference.

With India missing several key players, including middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, the selectors also announced the surprise recall of the big-hitting veteran Yuvraj Singh.”Virat was with us on Skype” for the selection meeting in Mumbai, Prasad told reporters.

“After discussing with him, this is the best possible team we have. It’s a fantastic team.”

The new 28-year-old skipper, whose nickname is ‘King Kohli’, is the world’s number one-ranked batsman in T20 cricket and is also second in the rankings for the 50 over and five-day formats.

Also read: Dhoni steps down as India’s limited overs captain

Since taking over from Dhoni as Test skipper in early 2015, Kohli has been in scintillating form, leading India to five successive series victories and scoring three double centuries in the last six months.

He was also the outstanding player in both last year’s World T20 tournament and the Indian Premier League (IPL) when he smashed the previous record for run-scoring.

His appointment means that Kohli is likely to captain India in the next 50 over World Cup finals which are due to be hosted by England in 2019.

Since making his debut in 2008, Kohli has scored 7,570 runs in 176 ODIs, including 26 hundreds and 38 half-centuries, at an average of 52.94. He also averages over 57 in T20 internationals.

Kohli has made clear his high regard for Dhoni who was his captain when he was part of the Indian team which won the 2011 World Cup on home soil.

Writing on Twitter shortly before Friday’s announcement, Kohli said: “Thanks for always being the leader a youngster wants to have around him. You’ll always be my captain @msdhoni Bhai.”

Kohli’s first major assignment will be to lead India’s defence of the Champions Trophy which begin in England in June.

While India have built up a big lead over their rivals at the top of the Test rankings, they are second in the table in ODI cricket and third in the T20 format.