Virat Kohli struggled to get going in the two T20Is against England as he registered scores of 1 and 11, then suffered a minor groin injury in the third T20I, taking him out of the first ODI, which India won by 10 wickets against England at The Oval, London. It is unknown whether the former skipper will be available for the second ODI or not. There has been a lot of talk about Kohli’s form and some are beginning to say that the maverick batter is not a sure shot in the playing XI.
Former Indian pacemaker Ashish Nehra doesn’t see any merit in this argument, however, saying Kohli can get an extended rope because of his past performances and how a break will work well for the batter.
“If you don’t play there will be discussions even if you’re not a player of Kohli’s caliber. When you’re broadcasting the newspaper is printed every day and when you play you try to focus on your game and don’t listen to so-called “outside voices” from people outside the locker room. It’s important how you are in the locker room and how your teammates, management and selectors support you. We are talking about a man like Virat. Yes ,,It is not written anywhere that Virat Kohli will continue to play for India even if he doesn’t score points. That won’t happen, but if you’ve done so much in the past, you always get extra chances,” Nehra said while answering a question from NDTV during a virtual interaction organized by Sony Sports.
“Everyone knows what you’ve done and what talent you have. At 33-34 years old, fitness is no problem for him. Everyone hopes Virat Kohli will be fine, the sooner the better. Let’s hope we see another Virat after the West Indies series. If he rests for a month or five weeks it will help him and will put pressure on any player if you don’t score points, especially the kind of player Virat has been. It hasn’t been just 1-2 series, you can say 12 months,” he added.
Nehra further answered the same question, saying: “He’s the first to want to score runs, everyone in the country wants runs from Virat’s bat. Rest is not a bad thing, you just played the IPL and then you played the Test, cue ball cricket, so it’s good to see Virat getting a break. A break doesn’t mean a week’s break or a three-day break. When you come back to Asian Cup, you come back fresh.”
Responding to another journalist’s question about Kohli and all the talk around him, Nehra said: “Yes, you will be dropped if you don’t perform. However, there are many ifs and buts. If you are a player like Virat who scored points and did so much for the country he can’t be dropped right away yes Virat has not been between runs but dropping him is not the solution and he himself knows he has not scored any points we are discussing Virat as an example Even Rohit has struggled both Rohit and Virat struggled in the IPL and other Twenty20 games this year With the rise of all formats a player who plays in all three formats will have more chances to score , but there are more opportunities if you can fail too.”
“It is very easy to drop someone, but as support staff and management you have to focus on how to help the player. Unfortunately Virat suffered a groin injury, but when you talk about Rohit and Virat, sometimes giving a rest is the best option , because staying in bubbles is not that easy and in the past 1-2 years the players have had to stay in bubbles.”
The 2nd and 3rd ODI between India and England will be broadcast on Sony Sports Network.