Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra has defended Virat Kohli amidst call for the latter’s removal as RCB and India’s limited-overs skipper for his poor show in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).

After Gautam Gambhir advocated for a change RCB’s captaincy and Rohit Sharma to be the new India T20I captain, Chopra asked if the Mumbai Indians skipper would’ve been successful with the Bangalore-based team.

“Gautam Gambhir [a former Delhi teammate of Chopra] believes that it is the nation’s misfortune if Rohit Sharma is not made the Indian T20I captain because he is the most successful captain in the IPL,” said Chopra in a video shared on his Facebook page.

“But I have a question, that if Rohit was given the RCB team, which is there with Kohli, will he have won two, three or four out of the five titles MI have won?” he wondered.

Calling out Kohli for his lack of responsibility, Gambhir even suggested that RCB should bring a change in captaincy in the next edition of the cash-rich tournament.

“100%, because the problem is about accountability. Eight years into the tournament (without a trophy), eight years is a long time. Tell me any other captain…forget about captain, tell me any other player who would have got eight years and wouldn’t have won the title and would have still continued with it. So, it has to be accountability. A captain needs to take accountability,” said Gambhir as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Later, following Mumbai Indians’ fifth IPL title win, Gambhir has that it would be “shame” and “India’s loss” if the former is not made India’s full-time limited-overs captain.

“If Rohit Sharma doesn’t become India’s captain, it’s their loss, not Rohit’s,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “Yes, a captain is only as good as his team and I completely agree with that, but what are the parameters to judge a captain on who is good and who isn’t? The parameters and benchmark should be the same. Rohit has led his team to five IPL titles,” he added.
“Rohit as a captain is outstanding, I love him to bits but can the Mumbai Indians’ success story be equated with India? That is my question. Just because Kohli’s team does not do well, does it mean that is Kohli’s fault,” said Chopra.

Sharma has captained India in shorter formats whenever Kohli has been absent.

“They cannot make him the captain now however much you may try. I know it is not fair; I know it is tough. But this is what it is. It cannot happen now as there is a simple reason for that,” said Chopra.

“First of all, he is not going now, he is not even fit. There is a separate mystery going on there regarding when he will get fit. If he is fit on the 10th, why is he not fit for the 27th. Things are topsy-turvy at the moment,” he said.

Chopra said he doesn’t see a change in India captaincy as of now.

“There are not too many T20 matches at the moment. Let us wait for some time, let us be cool, he cannot become the captain now. Kohli is the captain currently and I don’t feel that there is going to be a captaincy change in this team now,” he said.