Why Rohit, Kohli didn't play T20Is post 2022 WC if they had to return eventually | Crickit
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Why Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli didn't play T20Is for India post 2022 World Cup if they had to return eventually

Jan 10, 2024 06:18 PM IST

Why were Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma absent in T20I post the 2022 World Cup in Australia? MSK Prasad addresses the burning topic.

And just like that, after not playing a single T20I for India in the last 14 months, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are back in the mix. Despite trying out at least 10 different youngsters, playing through different countries, the BCCI are back to square one, turning to the star duo of Kohli and Rohit in pursuit to end India's ICC jinx. Despite the spirited effort of youngsters, which saw them win a gold medal at the Asian Games and beat Australia 4-1 after the ODI World Cup, perhaps the board does not have faith in this bunch to go all the way after all.

India's T20I Playing XI is once again set to feature both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli(Reuters)
India's T20I Playing XI is once again set to feature both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli(Reuters)

It's not as if the team without Kohli and Rohit lacked experience. Hardik Pandya was settling well into his role as captain, Suryakumar Yadav is still blazing away as the No. 1 T20I batter in the world and Jasprit Bumrah is still unplayable at his best, but perhaps the management felt that there are no replacements or substitutes for Kohli and Rohit, in spite of the promise shown by Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh and Yashasvi Jaiswal.

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So what prompted going back to the old guard? Former BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad feels Kohli and Rohit's returns shouldn't be considered a jolt out of the blue, and reckons they were out of BCCI's T20I plans in the first place. The reason why Kohli and Rohit remained absent from India's T20I games since December 2022 was due to their preference and preparation for the ODI World Cup.

Also Read: Virat Kohli to miss 1st T20I against Afghanistan due to personal reasons

"The question arises, why they didn't play after the last T20 World Cup. The reason they didn't play is we were heading towards an ODI World Cup, so we predominantly wanted to focus on ODIs. That's the reason they offered other youngsters who were maybe thinking towards the T20 World Cup. So that's a wonderful thing from both of them, and even the selectors and team management have got it right. Because if we are heading towards the ODI World Cup, it is better to focus on the ODIs, and we had the WTC also. So they were focusing on test cricket and ODI cricket. Now that we are heading towards a T20, they should be back to action," Prasad told Star Sports.

Why rest Kohli and Rohit against South Africa?

With Kohli, Rohit, Hardik, Suryakumar certain in India's Playing XI, the door is once again likely to shut on youngsters – someone like Rinku Singh – who has shown so much promise already in 12 games that the prospect of an Indian T20 Playing XI without him is unimaginable. But we guess he'll have to wait longer for his chance.

Then again, if at all, Kohli and Rohit were part of India's T20 World Cup plans six months from now, why rest them for the T20Is against Australia and against South Africa? Prasad's answer won't surprise, but he is certain that it was almost certain that Kohli and Rohit would travel to the USA and West Indies for a final chance at winning a World Cup.

"I do understand that Rohit and Virat were given a bit of rest for the South Africa tour. I think that was needed, after a mega event like the ODI World Cup. They needed that kind of a break. So fortunately, they have had a healthy break and have done reasonably well, the youngsters. See, my opinion is there's absolutely no doubt that Virat and Rohit will be a part of the T20 World Cup, so they should start playing right from this series," Prasad pointed out.

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