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Former India opener makes big statement on Virat Kohli’s T20I future

Wasim Jaffer, Virat Kohli, India, England, T20I,

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer has called for the exclusion of star batter Virat Kohli from the national team’s T20I setup after Virat Kohli failed to end his long drought for runs during the just-concluded Test match against England at Edgbaston.

Virat Kohli’s struggles with the bat have shown no signs of ending, with the modern-day great even having issues in consistently reaching thirties and forties of late.

His form across all formats of the game has been a major worry for the Indian team with his last hundred in international cricket coming way back in November 2019 in the historic pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata.

After having a disastrous Indian Premier League (IPL), Virat Kohli made only 31 runs in his two innings against England in the Edgbaston Test.

In the IPL, Virat Kohli once again disappointed his fans, as he could only make 341 runs with a poor average of 22.73 in 16 games. Kohli’s run in the IPL was a horror show, to say the least as he registered three golden ducks in the same tournament for the first time in his career.

These numbers from Virat Kohli have convinced Wasim Jaffer that he’s no longer a certainty in India’s scheme of things in T20Is.

Wasim Jaffer further argued for the inclusion of young players like Deepak Hooda who gives the team the much-needed balance with his bowling.

“Kohli plays, there’s no doubt about it but his form will be taken into consideration. His IPL strike rate hasn’t been great. He’s not been in the best of forms. Deepak Hooda can give you an option with bowling so that will be taken into consideration but not straightaway. I’d say Kohli will get an opportunity to play a few matches and then probably selectors will take a call but I don’t think he’ll be a certainty because so many young players have done so well. In the last T20 World Cup, the strike rate, that approach, was questioned and I think we need to keep looking at the future,” Wasim Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo.

“I’m not gonna sit here and say ‘leave Kohli out’. I’d be wanting that if I was in the England side. It’s a big decision to make. India have got so many good players coming through their system but Kohli’s got to come in. What do they say, form is temporary, class is permanent,” Wasim Jaffer added.

Virat Kohli wasn’t included in India’s playing XI in the first T20I against England in Southampton as the entire Test squad which competed against the Ben Stokes-led side stayed back in Birmingham where the second T20 match will be played on Saturday.

Virat Kohli is expected to be back in India’s playing XI for the second T20I against England in Birmingham.

India currently lead the three-match T20I series against the Three Lions 1-0, having beaten England at Southampton by 50 runs on Thursday.

Beginning this weekend, Virat Kohli would have five matches, two T20Is, and 3 ODIs to regain form because failures in these matches could put his spot in the limited-overs side, especially in the shortest format of the game under considerable strain.

He will not be a part of the Indian team that would depart to play three ODIs against the West Indies in the Caribbean as the BCCI has given him a break from the series.

However, alarm bells are already ringing for Virat Kohli as recent reports in the Indian media suggest that the national selectors are on the verge of dropping him from the national T20I side if he fails to get going in the limited-overs leg of the tour against England.

“He has been a great servant of the Indian cricket. Without doubt one of the best. But his struggle for form and runs is now alarming. Selectors need to select people on form not on reputation. I am no authority but he needs to get his groove back soon. Perform or Perish has to be a way forward on him. I guess selectors will look for options before the T20 World Cup if he don’t get runs in England”, a top BCCI official told the local press.

“The T20I team has been withheld to evaluate the rest needed to be given to the top players. Rohit, Pant, and Pandya are likely to play the T20Is in West Indies. Bumrah most likely will not be traveling to the Caribbean. As for Kohli, one needs to see what the team management decides on what it needs for the T20 World Cup. This limited-overs series in England is very crucial for Kohli,” a BCCI source was quoted as saying to The Times of India on Wednesday.