Pathan breaks 'India 2007 T20WC squad' myth in reply to Manjrekar's 'Rohit, Kohli have to prove themselves' remark
Irfan Pathan and Manjrekar were at loggerheads over Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's T20I future and whether they should be part of the 2024 T20 World Cup team.
There is quite some ambivalence over the future of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in T20I cricket. India have already begun their preparations for the T20 World Cup next year in June with a 4-1 series win against Australia, however, both their stalwarts have increased their period of hiatus from the shortest format, having last played in the semifinal loss against England in 2022 T20 World Cup. However, while most have raised the question of 'when', for former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, it more a 'whether', which resulted into him and Irfan Pathan being at loggerheads.
Speaking to Star Sports, Manjrekar admitted that while he understood that India are desperate to end their ICC trophy drought, he feels the return of Rohit and Kohli to T20I cricket should depend entirely on their form in the format. He explained that while Kohli will have to prove himself against the likes of the young batters who were picked for the Australia series, Rohit will be in competition with Hardik Pandya.
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"We are maybe playing slightly different cricket in the final stages of World Cups. When something goes out of your hand, simplify it. Pick your team based on form close to the World Cup," said Manjrekar. "Virat Kohli will have to show that he is a better option than the youngsters who are playing currently, and Rohit Sharma as T20 batter and captain vs Hardik Pandya, the T20 batter, all-rounder and captain."
Pathan, who was part of the discussion as well, however disagreed with Manjrekar's notion and felt that a team should have a blend of youth and experience. He then cited the example of the 2007 T20 World Cup team under MS Dhoni while breaking the long-standing myth that it was an inexperienced Indian side the lifted the trophy. The former all-rounder pointed out that the team had its fair share of senior players in Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, and Harbhajan Singh among few others.
“I feel Indian team should combine experience and youth. When we won the last T20 World Cup, in 2007, many said it was a young and inexperienced team that won the title, but that wasn't it. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had been playing for a while then. Me and Dhoni were also part of team for almost four years. There was also Ajit Agarkar, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh as well. So you have to combine experience with youth especially for those conditions where batting gets a bit tricky,” he said.
Manjrekar eventually ended the debate by recalling the 2007 final, hinting that it was an unheralded Joginder Sharma that won the match against Pakistan for India.
“I agree with experience but if you remember that T20 World Cup win, it was Joginder Sharma who won that final for us,” he said.
Kohli and Rohit have both not been named in the South Africa T20I series with the duo yet to have their discussion with the BCCI over their future in the format.
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