Former India pacer Karsan Ghavri has lashed out at Virat Kohli for taking a break from the upcoming three-match ODI series against the West Indies, especially at a time when his struggle for runs has no signs of ending.
On Saturday, Virat Kohli returned to India's T20 setup but failed to alter his fortunes despite the change in the format. 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.
Seeing Virat Kohli's problems on the pitch, Karsan Ghavri was furious at the 33-year-old cricketer for taking a rest.
Ghavri even suggested that Kohli probably has taken the break to fulfill his commercial commitments and may shoot a few advertisements during his time away from cricket.
“How much rest do Virat and Rohit need? How long did Virat bat in the Test match? Playing for India should be their number one priority. You should shoot for advertisements during the IPL, not while playing for India. You cannot ask for frequent breaks in the name of workload management,” Karsan Ghavri said in an interview with Sportskeeda.
“Players should be selected on merit. Virat has made India proud on many occasions, but drop him if he’s not in form. It’s as simple as that,” Karsan Gavri added.
“Bring in the guys who are in form. Virat Kohli is a big name, but where are the runs? How long can you play based on your past reputation? He’s still stuck on 27 Test centuries. Meanwhile, Joe Root has now surpassed him despite lagging behind until recently,” Karsan Ghavri pointed out.
Karsan Ghavri's comments came at a time when the chorus for Virat Kohli’s ouster from India’s T20 side is growing with each passing day.
First, it was Wasim Jaffer, and then it was the legendary Kapil Dev, who raised questions about continuing with Virat Kohli in the T20Is despite the Delhi-born cricketer being woefully out of form.
On Saturday, another former India star, namely Ajay Jadeja called for Virat Kohli’s removal from the national T20 team.
“You have been shown that there is another way of playing the same game. You are still scoring around 180 to 200. It’s not that the game has changed, but you have a choice of how you want to play. I think Rohit Sharma will be making that call,” Ajay Jadeja told Sony Sports.
“I think anyone who is leading the side has only two choices. That’s the way I see it. Either you stick to the way you have been playing, give opportunities to youngsters or you go back to your old team that played before you started trying to give opportunities,” Ajay Jadeja added.
“Virat Kohli is a special player. If it wasn’t Virat Kohli, he wouldn’t have probably playing Test cricket as well,” he elaborated.
“You look at the numbers and say ‘oh, over the last 8, 10 matches, he hasn’t scored a hundred’. But you don’t leave him out just because he hasn’t scored a hundred. You don’t leave him out because of what he is done in the past,” Ajay Jadeja stated.
“Virat Kohli is a choice that you have to make. Do you want to play that solidity at the top and then get runs right at the back? It’s that old-style when Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will bat at the top and you would have players like Dhoni where they get 60 in the last 4 overs,” he pointed out.
“It depends on whom you want to play. I feel you have a choice, it’s a tough one to make. If I had to pick a T20 side, Virat probably won’t be there,” Ajay Jadeja summed up.
For the record, Virat Kohli last made a century in any form of international cricket in the historic Pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.
Coming back to his recent performances, Virat Kohli had a woeful run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he could manage to score only 341 runs to his name which came at a dismal average of 22.73 in 16 games.
After the IPL, Virat Kohli donned India's white shirt in the rescheduled fifth and fifth final Test against England at Edgbaston but couldn't reignite his form as he was dismissed for 11 and 20 in his two knocks there.