Mumbai, December 16 Virat Kohli, the India Test captain, confirmed his availability for the ODI leg of the South Africa tour, brushing aside recent reports that suggested he’d made himself unavailable.
Kohli, who was recently replaced as India’s limited-overs captain by Rohit Sharma, said he had been notified about the change in captaincy before the selection committee meeting, and slammed reports that suggested he wouldn’t be available for selection for the ODI series.
Kohli also said BCCI’s decision to change the ODI captain was an “understandable” one, and reiterated his full support to Rohit and Rahul Dravid, the new coach.
“I was and am available for selection (for the ODIs),” he said. “I was contacted by selectors 1.5 hours before the meeting, we discussed the Test selection, then chief selectors told me I won’t be the ODI captain and I was fine with it. There was no prior communication.”
Kohli was speaking to the media in Mumbai, ahead of the Indian team’s departure for their three-match Test series against in South Africa, which will be followed by a three-match ODI series.
The first Test will get underway in Centurion on December 26 with the series concluding on January 15. The ODI series will take place between January 19-23.
Kohli also denied reports of an alleged rift with the newly-appointed ODI skipper Rohit Sharma, stating that he is ‘tired’ of answering the speculations.
“Rohit is a very able captain and we have seen it in the IPL as well as for India. [Rahul] Dravid is also very valuable. Both of them will have my absolute support. There is no problem between me and Rohit. I have been clarifying for the last two and a half years or so. I’m really tired.”
The Test skipper also added that he will strive to perform at his best in ODIs, despite not having the responsibility of leading the side. “I have done the best I could. My motivation level to perform for the team will never dip. As captain, I have been honest to my responsibilities and have been 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. Nothing can derail me from playing for India. Nothing can derail me from being motivated to play for India.”
Kohli though admitted that all the chatter outside wasn’t ‘ideal’. “Lot of things that happen outside are not ideal but you have to do things in your control. I am mentally prepared and excited to do well in South Africa.”