Kohli hailed as 'India's most aggressive and successful' by Shastri after stepping down

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Ravi Shastri hailed Virat Kohli as "India's most aggressive and successful" after he stepped down as Test captain on Saturday.

Kohli brought his long reign as skipper to an end a day after his side were consigned to a 2-1 series defeat by South Africa at Newlands, losing by seven wickets.

The 33-year-old Kohli led India a record 68 times in the longest format, taking captaincy duties for the first time in Australia back in 2014 before landing the role on a permanent basis the following year after MS Dhoni's retirement.

Only Graeme Smith, Allan Border, Stephen Fleming, Ricky Ponting and Clive Lloyd have skippered their country more times in Tests.

Kohli is India's most successful Test captain with 40 victories and averaged a staggering 54.80 during his reign, scoring 20 hundreds and making 18 half-centuries as he racked up 5,864 runs from 113 knocks.

India soared to the top of the Test rankings during the successful Kohli era while Shastri was head coach.

Shastri, who left his role last year, paid a glowing tribute to Kohli after he decided to step away, having relinquished the T20 captaincy to Rohit Sharma in 2021 before the opening batter also replaced him as ODI skipper last month.

He tweeted: "Virat, you can go with your head held high. Few have achieved what you have as captain. Definitely India's most aggressive and successful. Sad day for me personally as this is the team [Flag of India] we built together."

The legendary ex-West Indies captain Viv Richards also salted Kohli.

He posted on social media: "Congratulations @imVkohli on a stunning run as the Indian captain.

"You can be very proud of what you have achieved so far, and for sure, your name will be up there among the best leaders in world cricket."

Former India opening batter Virender Sehwag tweeted: "Many Congratulations #ViratKohli on an outstanding career as India's Test Captain.

"Stats don't lie & he was not only the most successful Indian Test Captain but one of the most successful in the world. Can be very proud @imVkohli & looking forward to watch u dominate with the bat."

The BCCI posted: "BCCI congratulates #TeamIndia captain @imVkohli for his admirable leadership qualities that took the Test team to unprecedented heights. He led India in 68 matches and has been the most successful captain with 40 wins."

KL Rahul would appear to be the favourite to succeed Kohli after he was recently named vice-captain.

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