Team India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah on Monday (January 17) said that everybody in the team respects Virat Kohli’s decision to quit Test captaincy and that the batter will always be consider as leader in the group.

Bumrah’s comments come two days after Kohli announced his decision to stand down as India’s Test captain.

“See, I am not here to give a judgment on Virat’s decision to leave Test captaincy. It is a personal decision, we respect his decision. He knows how his body is reacting and what frame of mind he is in. I respect that, it has been an immense pleasure to play under Virat Kohli, I made my Test debut under him. He brings a lot of energy to the side. He will always be a leader in the group and his contribution has always been immense,” said Bumrah during a virtual press conference.

When asked about when the Team India members got to know about Virat’s decision, Bumrah said: “We are close as a team unit, we got to know about his decision in a team meeting that he will stand down as the Test captain. We respect his decision, we value his leadership. We congratulated him for what he achieved as a leader of this side.”

Kohli holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68) and he also holds the record for most Test wins by an Indian captain (40). Only Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh have won more matches than Kohli as captain in Test cricket.

Last year, Kohli had stepped down as the T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI skipper after the selectors wanted to have just one captain for the white-ball formats.

“Virat has been the leader of our team, he is energy-driven and he has brought a lot of change to Indian cricket. Everybody got fitter in the team, his contribution has been immense. He is a very important player in the group, his assistance, and knowledge of the game would always be used by the team. He will add inputs and suggestions, we all look up to him,” said Bumrah who will be the vice-captain of the India ODI team for the series against South Africa.

“See, I cannot speak for everyone, but for me, I can say it does not make that of a difference. We all are here to help in whatever way we can, and that is how everyone is responding to the changes. We understand how the process is going, change is the only constant. I do not think anybody is facing a problem or is in a weird space with the change that is taking place. Everyone in the team is quite positive and eager to contribute,” he added.

India and South Africa will lock horns in a three-match ODI series, with the first match set to be played on Wednesday (January 19) in Paarl.

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