Time for Rohit, kohli to repay board’s faith

The squad will be named in the next few days—the deadline is May 1—and the cricket board knows they can ill afford to get this one wrong.
India's Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli run between the wickets during an ODI cricket match against Australia at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
India's Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli run between the wickets during an ODI cricket match against Australia at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.FILE Photo | PTI

As a golden cricketing generation comes to an end, some of India’s A-list batters know their time is running out to win the most elusive of ICC crowns. The India team, who command most of the commerce international cricket has to offer, have gone 11 years without a title. Having picked up three in six years from 2007 to 2013, this drought surely represents a low watermark for a team who have otherwise aced all challengers. So the upcoming T20 World Cup in the US and West Indies is perhaps the last chance for the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja to come out as world champions.

The squad will be named in the next few days—the deadline is May 1—and the cricket board knows they can ill afford to get this one wrong. In the past, the team has suffered because they have made some questionable calls. Rohit has already been named captain, but there are other selection calls to take. The IPL performances of some players have complicated things. Can they trust Hardik Pandya enough to take him as an all-rounder? Rishabh Pant has shown that he has recovered from the life-threatening accident and ought to start in the middle. But there’s also a case for Sanju Samson, whose leadership and skills with the bat have come in for praise. Kuldeep Yadav should go in as the lead spinner. They need to get the combination right on slow wickets in the Caribbean; otherwise they will be on the backfoot straight away.

Then there is Kohli. Though he is the top run-getter in IPL and surely looks likely to be picked, a lot has been said about his strike rate. The experience he offers at the top could be priceless. However, he does have issues playing spin, especially against left-armers. He may have made some punchy statements after a few IPL games, but the criticism is backed by numbers stretching back more than half-a-dozen years. In a sense, the primary batting unit lacks the youthful energy of some other sides. Rohit, Kohli, Suryakumar, Pant, Pandya and Jadeja all featured in the 2021 T20 World Cup; if not for injury, the same squad would have played in 2022 as well. In short, there is a lack of evolution. The onus is on the veterans—led by Rohit and Kohli—to repay the long-term faith that the cricket board has shown.

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