Virat Kohli struggled to get going in the two T20Is against England as he registered scores of 1 and 11, and then he sustained a minor groin strain during the third T20I, which ruled him out of the first ODI, which India won by 10 wickets against England at The Oval, London. It is not known whether the former skipper will be available for the second ODI or not. There has been a lot of talk regarding Kohli’s form and there are some who have started to say that the maverick batter is not a sure-shot starter in the playing XI.
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra, however, does not find merit in this argument, saying that Kohli can be given an extended rope because of his past performances and how a break will work well for the batter.
“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. 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,” said Nehra while replying to a question by NDTV during a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.
“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,” he added.
Further answering the same question, Nehra said: “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 Asia Cup, you come back fresh.”
While replying to another journalist’s question on Kohli and all the talk surrounding him, Nehra said: “Yes, you get dropped when you don’t perform. However, there are many ifs and buts. When you’re a player like Virat who has scored runs and done so much for the country, he can’t be dropped straight away. Yes, Virat hasn’t been among runs but dropping him isn’t the solution and he himself knows that he has not scored runs. We are discussing Virat as an example. Even Rohit has struggled, both Rohit and Virat had a tough time in this year’s IPL and other Twenty20 games. With the emergence of all formats, a player who plays across all three will get more chances to score but there are more chances when you can fail also.”
“Dropping someone is very easy, but as support staff and management, you should focus on how to help the player. Unfortunately, Virat has suffered a groin injury, but if you talk about Rohit and Virat, sometimes giving them rest is the best option, because staying in bubbles is not very easy and in the past 1-2 years, the players have had to stay in bubbles.”
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