Abu Dhabi: Kolkata Knight Riders' new skipper Eoin Morgan on Friday hailed Dinesh Karthik's decision to step down as captain of the IPL side as an "incredibly selfless" act of putting the team ahead of an individual.
Karthik handed over the reins to his deputy Morgan hours before their IPL match against Mumbai Indians.
"Yes, I was surprised as was everybody. Yesterday, DK informed he wants to step back and focus on his batting as he feels that is the best option for the team," Morgan said in an interview with Darren Ganga.
"I think it is incredibly selfless and that also shows a lot of courage from him to do that, putting the team ahead of him."
He said he will continue to take help from other players in the leadership group, including Karthik.
"I am delighted to continue the leadership role within this side. Obviously captain and not vice-captain now, and hopefully, continue to work alongside our players. I think between me and Dinesh, captain and vice-captain, we can be at the forefront of that, obviously the driving engine, with these guys behind us."
Morgan said a lot of youngsters, like Shubman Gill, have also been "leading from the front".
"I have been quite myself. Within any good side or great side in the world, you have to have a number of leaders within the change room and we have them in abundance. We have a lot of young guys coming through and leading from the front. Gill, Nitish (Rana) to name a few. (Kamlesh) Nagarkoti has stepped up at different stages and we have an abundance of overseas players to lead as well.
"We are halfway through the tournament at the moment. We have shown some potential and not achieved much yet... Tonight will be another test and hopefully, we will be up to it."
Karthik had told the KKR management that he wants to "focus on his batting and contributing more to the team's cause." Appointed skipper in 2018, the 35-year-old led KKR in 37 matches.
"We are fortunate to have leaders such as DK, who has always put the team first. It takes a lot of courage for someone like him to take a decision such as this," team CEO Venky Mysore said in a statement.
"While we were surprised by his decision, we are respectful of his wishes."
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