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Ishant Sharma dismisses Kapil Dev’s concerns, backs Virat Kohli to make India’s T20 WC Squad

Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Kapil Dev, India, T20, England,

Virat Kohli made a return to India’s T20I side on Saturday but failed to make any kind of impact with the bat. The former India captain fell for 1 with England fast bowler Richard Gleeson delivering a double-wicket maiden in the seventh over of the Indian essay in the second T20I in Birmingham. Gleeson’s other wicket was Rishabh Pant who opened the innings for India for the first time in T20Is. Virat Kohli on the other hand, lost his wicket as he tried to hit the ball over the deep midwicket boundary but failed to get enough power behind his shot. He was eventually caught by David Malan in the backward point region as the ball took the outer edge of his bat and went up in the air. Despite Virat Kohli’s yet another failure with the bat against England, former India pacer Ishant Sharma voiced his support for his inclusion in the national squad for T20 World Cup later this year.

Ishant Sharma’s comments came amid rising calls from several cricketers, including the legendary Kapil Dev, Wasim Jaffer, and Parthiv Patel who have all questioned Virat Kohli’s place in India’s T20 line-up.

According to Ishant Sharma, Virat Kohli’s previous record in Australia was phenomenal, and leaving him out of the squad, especially for a tournament like the T20 World Cup could backfire.

Ishant Sharma also spoke about youngsters like Deepak Hooda who have taken the world by storm with their fearless batting when Virat Kohli was missing from India’s T20 side.

He claimed that while Deepak Hooda was extremely talented, the fact of the matter was that if Virat Kohli was available to play, he would be a part of the playing XI.

 “I think it will be hard on Deepak Hooda, because Virat Kohli will come in at No.3. It is something that no matter how much you try to tell yourself, the truth is that if Kohli is available, he will play,” Ishan said on Jatin Sapru’s YouTube channel.

“Ravindra Jadeja should come in for Axar Patel, he can hit the ball just like Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik,” he said. “I think Suryakumar Yadav will play both of the remaining matches at No 4 ahead of Shreyas Iyer. They might rotate the five incoming players because these are back-to-back matches.”

Earlier, Kapil Dev’s strong remarks against Virat Kohli had led to a storm on social media with supporters of both players clashing on Twitter.

Stating the example of Ravichandran Ashwin’s removal from India’s Test side when he was the No.2 bowler in the world, Kapil Dev said that if one of the best spinners could be shown the door, so can be Virat Kohli.

“Yes, now the situation is such that you might be forced to bench Kohli from T20 playing eleven. If world No. 2 bowler Ashwin can be dropped from Test side then (once upon a time) world No. 1 batter can also be dropped,” Kapil Dev told ABP News.

“Virat is not batting at a level which we have seen him do over the years. He has made a name because of his performances but if he isn’t performing, then you can’t keep the performing youngsters out of the team. I want competition for places in team in a positive sense that these youngsters should try and outperform Virat,” Kapil Dev further said.

“You can call it rest and someone else will call it dropped. Every person will have his own view. Obviously, if selectors don’t pick him (Kohli), then it could be because a big player isn’t performing,” Kapil Dev observed.

“Play in-form players when you have loads of options,” said Kapil. “You can’t just go by reputation but you have to look for current form. You can be an established player but that doesn’t mean that you will be given chances even if you fail five games in a row.”

Former India speedster Karsan Ghavri too made similar observations about Virat Kohli.

“Virat Kohli is such a great player for India but unfortunately for the last two years, we have seen him getting caught behind or caught in the slips while chasing the delivery outside the off stump. He has to look at this and improve. He has to restrict those shots because if he keeps going like this and getting out and not getting runs, there comes a question mark – why is he not scoring?” Karsan Ghavri told Jagran TV.

“He has to prove his form in the current series. These days you can’t play for long riding on your name. Virat is a great player but only his name will not work. He has to perform and score runs. This is how it goes. Everybody understands that he is going through a rough patch and it happens with every player. He has the hunger for runs, hunger for success in his heart but his personal form is quite disappointing,” the 71-year-old retired cricketer concluded.