BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar passes red-hot verdict on Virat Kohli as T20 World Cup selection comes knocking | Crickit
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BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar passes red-hot verdict on Virat Kohli as T20 World Cup selection comes knocking

Apr 10, 2024 04:40 PM IST

Ajit Agarkar has given a fresh take on Virat Kohli as the BCCI is set to pick India's squad for T20 World Cup later this month.

Will he, or won't he? That's the big question surrounding Virat Kohli's participation at the T20 World Cup. Kohli, who hasn't missed a single ICC tournament for India since his debut, was at the risk of not playing the World Cup starting June 1, when reports of him potentially getting dropped emerged by a leading Indian news daily. But as more information came to the fore, as on Tuesday, the former captain is well on board for the T20 World Cup and in BCCI's scheme of things despite having played just two T20Is for India since November of 2022.

Is Ajit Agarkar's fresh take on Virat Kohli a hint? (PTI-AP)
Is Ajit Agarkar's fresh take on Virat Kohli a hint? (PTI-AP)

India's squad for the T20 World Cup is expected to be picked between the last week of April and first week of May, but amid reports that there was no way Kohli was going to miss the flight to the USA and West Indies, a statement from BCCI's chairman of selector, Ajit Agarkar, comes as a bit of reassurance to Virat's legion of fans. Agarkar, the former India all-rounder, hailed Kohli's fitness and the role it has played in shaping the future of Indian cricket.

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"Look at Virat. He is one of those guys who has set a benchmark. 10-15 years into his career, he has only gotten fitter. And you can see the results. If someone like him sets an example, puts forward certain things than you need, certain fitness levels you need, gradually it has progressed. BCCI has been instrumental as well with all the academies that have happened. You learn a lot quicker. Boys today at 15-16 are a lot fitter than what they were and they should be now with the amount of knowledge, awareness and facilities available," Agarkar, who played 26 Tests and 191 ODIs for India, said on the SportifywithPRG podcast.

Kohli's strike-rate an obstacle to his T20 World Cup chances

Kohli, who is currently playing the 2024 Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, is currently leading the Orange Cap standings having scored 316 runs from five matches at an average of 105 and strike-rate of 146. Kohli also scored the first century of the season – an unbeaten 113 against Rajasthan Royals – even though it came in a losing cause with Jos Buttler overshadowing it with a 58-ball ton of his own.

Kohli's century came off 67 balls – making it the slowest in the history of IPL – once again leading to a debate over his strike-rate. However, as the statistics show, Kohli's strike-rate of 146 is the 12th best among those to have batted in five innings. The likes of Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Abhishek Sharma and Shashank Singh are way above him but they haven't amassed the kind of runs Kohli has.

The controversy surrounding Kohli's participation at the T20 World Cup gained steam in the first week of the IPL when Ravi Shastri and Kevin Pietersen questioned his place in the squad. Two days later, as Kohli registered his first half-century of IPL 2024, he cheekily gave it back to the two former cricketers when he said: "I know my name is now attached to just promoting the game in different parts of the world when it comes to T20 cricket. I've still got it I guess."

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