BCCI to sit with Kohli. He's not first choice for T20 WC; other options ready | Cricket - Hindustan Times

BCCI top officials to sit with Kohli. He's no longer first choice for T20 World Cup; Kishan being looked at No.3: Report

Dec 08, 2023 06:40 AM IST

BCCI officials will soon meet Virat Kohli to discuss his future in T20Is. He is reportedly not in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup, currently.

Virat Kohli, the highest run-scorer of ODI World Cup 2023, is reportedly not the first-choice in India's T20I XI, anymore. With the T20 World Cup set to be played in June 2024, the discussion has quickly shifted from ODIs to T20Is. In a five-hour-long meeting with captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid, and the selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar, held in New Delhi, the BCCI top officials prepared a roadmap for the upcoming big event in the West Indies and the USA. India have only six T20Is - three in South Africa and three against Afghanistan at home - before finalising the squad for the T20 World Cup.

India's Virat Kohli(PTI)
India's Virat Kohli(PTI)

Kohli, Rohit, and Jasprit Bumrah have requested for breaks from the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour. That leaves only three T20Is against Afghanistan for the selectors to check the full-strength squad. According to a report in Dainik Jagran, while Rohit and Bumrah are automatic choices in the XI, Kohli's spot in the T20 World Cup squad is not guaranteed.

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The BCCI officials - secretary Jay Shah, vice president Rajeev Shukla and treasurer Ashish Shelar - and the selectors present in the meeting informed Rohit that they want him to lead the Indian side in the T20 World Cup. Both Rohit and Kohli have not played in this format since the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2022 held in Australia. But after the kind of performance - 597 runs at a strike rate of 125 - Rohit put in at the top of the order in the ODI World Cup at home, the selectors want him to have one final crack at an ICC event.

The same, however, cannot be said about Kohli. Although the former captain rewrote record books in the World Cup, going past Sachin Tendulkar's tally of 49 ODI centuries and also becoming the first cricketer to score more than 700 runs in a single edition of a World Cup, Kohli is currently not the preferred choice at No.3 in T20Is.

Ishan Kishan preferred choice at No.3 for T20 World Cup

A BCCI official present in the meeting told Jagran that the selectors and the board want a player who can play attacking cricket from the word go. Ishan Kishan right now appears to be the frontrunner to grab the No.3 spot. The left-hander played a couple of good knocks batting at that position in the home series against Australia.

Kohli, who is the world's leading run-scorer in T20Is and the only one with more than 1000 international runs in the format at an average of over 50 will obviously be considered if he has a good IPL 2024. But Kohli generally opens for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and right now the opening slots in the Indian T20I side are full, according to the official. Either Yashasvi Jaiswal or Shubman Gill is likely to partner Rohit at the top of the order while the other will be kept in the squad as a backup opener.

If Kishan is being looked at No.3 then the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Rinku Singh, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja fill in the remaining slots in the batting order. This means, there is no plane for Kohli, arguably India's greatest white-ball cricketer in the last two decades.

The official, however, said the selectors and other senior members of the board will have a discussion with Kohli soon regarding his plans for the T20Is. There may not be any dilemma if Kohli himself informs the BCCI that is not interested in playing the shortest format.

The 35-year-old will return to the Indian side for the two-match Test series against South Africa starting December 26.

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