The debate over Virat Kohli’s place in the playing XI for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia has gained momentum as the batting maestro is continuously failing to make an impact with each passing game.
Several former greats, including former India captain Kapil Dev, feel the clock is ticking for Virat while many believe the cricketer deserves a few more chances before the final call is taken.
Amid all the noise around Virat’s form, former England cricketer Monty Panesar, while talking to IANS, said it is time captain Rohit Sharma and chief coach Rahul Dravid make the “bold decision” on the star batter like former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni did with some senior players when they were not performing for the side at that time.
Panesar also shared his views on World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, who recently retired from international cricket and the ongoing three-match series between India and England. England have levelled the ODI series 1-1 with a massive 100-run win against India at Lord’s on Thursday. The two teams will now lock horns in the third ODI on Sunday.
Q: Since the India-England ODI series is level at 1-1, who are you backing in the third and final game?
A: Conditions play a big part. In the first one-dayer, there were obviously overcast conditions which helped the ball swing a bit more. And the one at Lord’s was a really interesting one because the new ball plays a big part. I think the new ball comes early; if it’s swinging or doing something, you know, you pick up wickets. So, it very much depends on how the conditions are on the day.
Q: What are your views on England’s current white-ball form?
A: Yeah, they are performing really well. They obviously found a sort of inconsistent form at the moment but it was really good in the second one-dayer. They were able to put pressure on India so it was good to see.
Q: Has Eoin Morgan taken the decision to retire early considering the 50-over World Cup next year?
A: I think Morgan felt he did the right thing. Because he wasn’t in great form, and whenever you feel that you’re not adding value to the team, you tend to sort of think ‘that’s it’, you know. I don’t think someone like Virat Kohli would do that because I think he would want to play the T20 (World Cup). And also the (50-over) World Cup in India, so that will be important for him. But, maybe, after that, he may hang up his boots. He’s obviously a great cricketer and has the decisions in his hands.
Q: Many cricketers go through a lean patch. Is Virat Kohli going through the same? Is dropping him the solution for the India team management?
A: Well, I think Virat is such a big player, unbelievable captain, top batsman in his time. India may have to think and decide how best they can utilise Virat now. You know, relying on that same player that was two-three years ago or he’s a different player now, and you know that same situation when MS Dhoni dropped some of the big guns.
Rohit and Rahul Dravid, do they have that courage to say actually, you know, it’s time to move on now. They have to think he’s not that same cricketer anymore. We’ve given him so many chances, but he’s just not the same level that we expect him to be.
He may be a big brand but he’s, you know, like in soccer Manchester United’s Christian Ronaldo was an individual player but he didn’t really help the team. At the moment, is Virat Kohli helping India? That’s the biggest question that Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid need to answer.