Virat Kohli has not been among the runs for more than a year and his selection gets pinpointed with every series passing by now and then. Kohli’s lean patch with the bat has been in the limelight since the time he relinquished Indian team captaincy from all formats.
Kohli scored 11 and 20 in the rescheduled fifth Test against England, which India lost by seven wickets and levelled the series 2-2. He was rested for the first T20I but returned with scores of 1 and 10 in the next two games.
It is not written anywhere that Virat Kohli will keep playing for India: Ashish Nehra
Kohli sustained a groin injury during the third T20I at Trent Bridge and that forced him out of the first One-Day International match against England at The Oval. There is no confirmation regarding his participation in the Lord’s ODI on Thursday (July 14) with reports suggesting that the senior Indian batter is yet to recover from the injury.
Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra, who played along with Kohli in India and Delhi teams, said a player of Kohli’s stature will face criticism when out of form but the backing of team management and players matters the most at such times.
“When you are not performing, there will be discussions even if you’re not a player of Kohli’s calibre. When you are doing broadcasting, newspaper, it is being printed every day and when you are playing, you try to focus on your game and not listen to so-called ‘outside voices’ from people outside the dressing room,” Nehra said during a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.
“It’s important how you are in the dressing room and how your teammates, management, and selectors are backing you. We are talking about a guy like Virat. Yes, it’s not written anywhere that Virat Kohli will keep playing for India even if he doesn’t score runs. That will not happen but when you have done so much in the past, you will always get extra chances,” he added.
The rest for West Indies tour will be helpful for Virat Kohli: Ashish Nehra
Kohli has been rested for the West Indies ODIs with other senior players Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. Although the BCCI is due to announce the T20I squad, reports have claimed that the 33-year-old opted to rest for the five-match series.
“Everybody knows what you have done and the talent you have. At the age of 33-34, fitness isn’t a problem for him. Everybody is hopeful that Virat Kohli will come good, the quicker the better. Let’s hope we see a different Virat after the West Indies series.
“If he rests for a month or five weeks, it will be helpful for him and any player will be under pressure if you do not score runs, especially the kind of player Virat has been. It has not been just 1-2 series, it has been you can say 12 months,” Nehra backed Kohli’s decision to take a break for the West Indies tour.
“He is the first one who wants to score runs, everyone in the country wants runs from the bat from Virat. Rest is not a bad thing, you just played the IPL and then you played the Test, white-ball cricket so it is good to see that Virat is getting a break. A break does not mean one week break or a three-day break. When you come back to the Asia Cup, you come back fresh,” the former Indian pacer added.
Former players like Kapil Dev, Venkatesh Prasad, and Michael Vaughan questioned Kohli’s place in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia this year in October. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma came out in Kohli’s support and said people outside the dressing room aren’t aware of what the team management is planning.