Virat Kohli is not BCCI's first choice for T20 World Cup, this batsman can play at number 3!
Virat Kohli, the leading run-scorer in the 2023 ODI World Cup, is reportedly no longer the preferred choice for India's T20I XI. As the T20 World Cup in June 2024 approaches, the focus has rapidly shifted from ODIs to T20Is. In an extensive five-hour meeting held in New Delhi, the selection committee led by India captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid and Ajit Agarkar discussed and prepared a strategic plan for the upcoming crucial event in West Indies and USA.
Before finalizing the squad for the T20 World Cup, India had only six T20 matches left - three against South Africa and three against Afghanistan at home.
Kohli, Rohit and Jasprit Bumrah have requested a break from the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour. This means the selectors will have only three T20 matches against Afghanistan to assess the full-strength squad. According to a report in Dainik Jagran, Rohit and Bumrah are sure to be included in the playing eleven, but Kohli's place in the T20 World Cup team is not confirmed.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials including secretary Jay Shah, vice-president Rajeev Shukla and treasurer Ashish Shelar, along with the selectors present at the meeting, told Rohit that they have chosen him to lead the Indian team in the upcoming T20 World Cup. It is noteworthy that both Rohit and Kohli have not participated in this format since the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2022 held in Australia. However, considering Rohit's exceptional performance at the top of the order in the ODI World Cup held in India, where he scored an impressive 597 runs at a strike rate of 125, the selectors believe that he will be the one to showcase his skills at the ICC World Cup. Deserves a last chance.
However, the same cannot be said for Kohli. Despite his impressive performance in the World Cup, where he surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI centuries and became the first cricketer to score more than 700 runs in an edition of the tournament, Kohli is currently the preferred choice at No. 3 in T20Is.
According to a BCCI official present in the meeting, the selectors and the board are looking for a player who can play aggressive cricket right from the beginning. Ishan Kishan looks to be the frontrunner for the No. 3 spot after he showcased his skills with some impressive innings in the home series against Australia.
Kohli, who holds the record for most runs in T20Is and is the only player to score more than 1000 international runs at an average of more than 50 in the format, will definitely have a chance if he performs well in IPL 2024. will be considered. However, it is worth it considering that Kohli usually opens for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the opening slots in the Indian T20I team are filled at the moment. The official suggests that either Yashasvi Jaiswal or Shubman Gill is likely to partner Rohit at the top of the order, while the other will act as a backup opener in the team.
If Kishan is considered for the No. 3 spot, players like Suryakumar Yadav, Rinku Singh, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will fill the remaining spots in the batting order. As a result, there seems to be no room for Kohli, who is arguably India's greatest white-ball cricketer in the last two decades.
However, an official said the selectors and other senior members of the board will soon discuss Kohli's plans for the T20Is. If Kohli himself tells BCCI that he has no interest in playing in the shortest format, then there will be no dilemma.