Mohammed Azharuddin hints at rift between Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma; Indian cricket in crisis?

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Former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin on Monday hinted at a potential rift between Team India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli and his ODI counterpart Rohit Sharma. This was after both Kohli said they were unavailable for the ODI series against South Africa in January next year. Sharma, on the other hand, has reportedly been ruled out of the upcoming Test series against the Proteas on account of injuries.

Mohammad Azharuddin
File photo: Mohammad Azharuddin

Azharuddin took to Twitter to write, “Virat Kohli has informed that he’s not available for the ODI series & Rohit Sharma is unavailable fr d upcoming test. There is no harm in takin a break but d timing has to be better. This just substantiates speculation abt d rift. Neither wil be giving up d other form of cricket.”

The BCCI recently stripped Kohli of the ODI captaincy triggering speculations that the Indian cricket board was unhappy with the latter growing too powerful within the system. The board, according to reports, was not pleased with how Kohli had unilaterally announced his decision to step down from the captaincy role in the T20 format right in the middle of the T20 World Cup. India failed miserably and failed to qualify to the semi-final stage. Adding insult to injuries was the humiliating defeat against Pakistan.

Many believe that the BCCI’s decision to snatch the ODI captaincy from Kohli and hand it over to Sharma left the Indian Test skipper seething. A report by ANI said that Kohli had informed the BCCI that he would miss the three-match ODI series against South Africa to attend his daughter Vamika’s first birthday, which falls on 11 January.

“Yes, Kohli has asked for a small break in January to spend some time with his family. It effectively means that he would miss the ODI series against South Africa,” a source was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the BCCI has announced that Priyank Panchal will replace Sharma in the Test series against South Africa, starting 17 December.