Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Kolkata: Virat Kohli said he was available for selection for the one-day series in South Africa which follows the Test series. He has also termed a media report about him asking for leave of absence during that period as people writing lies.

Breaking his silence in an eagerly awaited media briefing in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Kohli however revealed the hurt in the manner he was removed from the ODI captaincy on the day of announcement of the Test squad. The master batter and Test captain had decided to step down from the T20 captaincy of his own accord before the T20 World Cup.

''I was contacted one and-a-half hour before selection for Tests. The chief selector discussed with me the Test squad. Before the call ended, I was told that the five selectors had decided that I won't be ODI captain anymore. There was no prior communication about this,'' said Kohli, who has a 70% win ratio as the leaders in ODIs though India has failed to win any ICC trophy under him. 

Commenting on the so-called war of egos between and Rohit Sharma, Kohli rubbished any rift theory. ''I can understand the reasons (removal from ODI captaincy). BCCI has taken the decision from a logical point of view. There is no rift between me and Rohit Sharma. I have been clarifying this for the past two years and I am tired. None of my actions or decisions will be to take the team down,'' he said. 

However, transparency is an area where the Indian cricket board has historically never scored much – and the malaise surfaced once again over a media report of Kohli seeking time off from the ODI series since yesterday. While insinuations began that the Test skipper is not keen upfront to play under the new captain Rohit Sharma – the scenario began changing towards the evening and Kohli has himself cleared the air in the press conference.