Fans rightly sharpen knives against Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri and Vinod Rai for World Cup heartbreak


Cricket fans have begun sharpening their knives against the Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai for the national team’s dismal showing in the World Cup semi-final. India lost to New Zealand by 18 runs as the team failed to chase a meagre total of 239 runs despite boasting to have the best batting line-up in the World.
Virat Kohli

Many fans took to social media to demand the ouster of Virat Kohli for his controversial selection of the playing XI all through the competition. Kohli had controversially kept Mohammed Shami out of the semi-final match despite the cricketer from Uttar Pradesh scalping 14 wickets in just four matches including a hat-trick and a five-wicket haul.

Kohli had not included Shami in the first four matches of the competition and had said that the pacer will be in the team when there’s an overcast condition, which allows him to bowl lethal swinging deliveries. Kohli had opted for Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who had conceded 73 runs in India’s last league match against Sri Lanka.

Curiously, inspite of the overcast conditions during the semi-finals, Shami had to spend his time on the bench the 12th man.

Many experts were baffled by Kohli’s choice to go for the semi-final with just two recognised fast bowlers. After former India captain Sourav Ganguly questioned Shami’s exclusion, noted commentator Harsha Bhogle too agreed with him, “Like @SGanguly99, I admit I am surprised by the dropping of Shami. He takes wickets upfront and if you do, the death overs aren’t as critical. India batting very deep with Jadeja at 8 but it is a big call to leave out Kuldeep against a team he has done well.”

Here’s how Twitter users reacted while demanding Kohli’s removal as the national team captain.

Another controversial decision taken by Kohli and Shastri was the exclusion of Ambati Rayudu, who the team management refused to include in the side despite his terrific record. This prompted Rayudu to make a shock retirement announcement from all forms of cricket. The BCCI has now reportedly decided to grill Shastri and Kohli on why Rayudu was not picked up as a replacement for Vijay Shankar, who was ruled out due to injury.

Rayudu’s exclusion from the team had stunned many cricket experts when the team for the World Cup was announced earlier this year. While Rayudu and Rishabh Pant had faced rejections, Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar were included in the team. Shankar was later ruled out of the World Cup due to injury, but the selection committee called in Mayank Agrawal as his replacement even though he has not played a single One Day International.

Recently, a report by the Dainik Jagran newspaper had said that the current Indian team was grappling with serious factionalism with the team being divided into two camps. The report said that while one camp was being led by Kohli, the other camp had its allegiance to vice-captain Rohit Sharma.

The report also added that both Shastri and Kohli often took unilateral decisions excluding Sharma out of the process.

BCCI insiders say that both Shastri and Kohli enjoy the unconditional support of Vinod Rai. This has led many to demand the removal of Rai from the BCCI.

It remains to be seen whether Kohli, Shastri and Rai will leave their current roles owning responsibility for the humiliating performance in the World Cup semi-final.