Will Virat Kohli continue playing shortest format for India post T20 World Cup?
T20 World Cup: Who will blink first? Will it be BCCI or will it be Virat Kohli?
The T20 batter Virat Kohli is using his memory, but it is now clear that his strategies aren’t quite working for him in this quick-paced, high-impact game. It also prevents the Indian team from using its resources to their fullest potential.
The 20s or 35s are on the way, but not at a 150 strike rate (it was 102 plus against Pakistan on Sunday).
Can Kohli therefore be left off the T20 World Cup roster? Even if he isn’t scoring runs at a blistering rate, not in your wildest dreams.
But after the T20 World Cup in Australia, would Kohli be able to play for India in this format? However, even if those in charge of making decisions are aware of the solution, they won’t divulge it.
Since the “Desert Debacle” last year, when India prematurely exited the T20 World Cup, this question has been circulating across Indian cricket.
That was Kohli’s final T20 event leading India, and at the time, he decided to give up captaincy of one format to lighten his workload and relieve him of the pressure of managing the team in all formats.
Even if Kohli doesn’t look back on the decision one year later, it didn’t go as planned, and as a result, he lost his position as ODI captain. The wise man saw the signs and relinquished his “virtual arm-band” in a format when his statistics were exceptional.
Even though Kohli recently shared his recent struggles with mental health issues in a frank interview with “Star Sports,” burnout is still a possibility.
By the time he was 33 years old, he had played in 464 international matches. Add to that 15 seasons in the intense Indian Premier League, where he was not only the franchise’s (IPL) staple in the batting department but also its most recognisable player.
He just acknowledged that there was a time when he wasn’t enjoying the game. Since he only has that much band-width.
In five T20Is in 2022, his scores are 17, 52, 1, 11 and 35.
If we disregard the low scores, his 17 came off of 13 pitches, his 52 came off of 41 pitches. And his 35 came off of 34 pitches.
Instead of half-centuries in every game, India has to score 35 off 20–22 balls or even 20 off 10 balls. That have a high impact factor but not as many runs as a half-century.
These are cold, hard statistical facts; he hardly able to maintain a strike-rate of even 100 from overs 6 to 14 when slow bowlers in play.
The proverbial elephant in the room is the debate over Kohli’s status as the No. 3 batter in T20 cricket. But it known that the BCCI may postpone dealing with the problem until after the T20 World Cup.
The simplest path may be taken if Kohli chooses to take an indefinite hiatus from T20s in favour of focusing on the 50-over format, given India has a World Cup to play at home and 38 Tests scheduled for the upcoming FTP cycle.
However, if nothing changes from Kohli’s end, it’s possible that Chetan Sharma. And his group of national selectors would need to create a roadmap alongside head coach Rahul Dravid. And NCA chief VVS Laxman to begin the phase-out process (should they receive the probable extension at the AGM).
Sachin Tendulkar (in ODIs), Sourav Ganguly (across formats), Rahul Dravid (white ball prior to a final hurrah in 2011), Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, and Virender Sehwag were also affected.
There is no reason why Kohli cannot experience it.
But before or after the T20 World Cup, it’s possible that either the BCCI top brass. Or selectors will have an open conversation with him about his shortest format future.