Is Virat Kohli Not Playing in the 2024 T20 World Cup?

Although Rohit Sharma has got his confirmation of being in the team as the captain, Virat Kohli is yet to be confirmed.

Jay Shah, the Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has previously confirmed that Rohit Sharma is to lead the India national cricket team in the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup while there was a debate if Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would be playing in the tournament. Although Rohit Sharma has got his confirmation of being in the team as the captain, Virat Kohli is yet to be confirmed.

Cricket analysts who try to follow the India cricket team are in a debacle whether they will see Kohli playing the T20 World Cup. It might be that Kohli himself does not know regarding the matter of his attendance in the global platform.

India has not been able to win the world title for 11 years. They last lost to Australia in the ODI World Cup final at home in November last year. The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has set its focus on the T20 World Cup to break the long drought of trophies in ICC organized tournaments. The selection panel and team management may have some tough decisions to make in picking the best possible team for the tournament. If necessary, Virat Kohli can also be excluded, according to the Indian newspaper The Telegraph.

Virat Kohli recently became the father of a second child. He is on leave to be with his wife Anushka Sharma and spend time with her family since the birth of her child. The BCCI has also granted Kohli a long leave, citing personal reasons. That is why he did not play in the recently concluded Test series against England at home.

Virat Kohli was last seen in the Indian jersey in the T20I series against Afghanistan last January. With that series, Kohli played for the national team for the first time after the 2022 T20 World Cup. One of the best batsmen of the time played the last two matches of the series, scoring 29 runs in one, but was dismissed for 0 runs in the next.

It was India's last series in this edition before the West Indies-USA T20 World Cup begins in June. The Telegraph quoted sources as saying that the selection panel and team management are not willing to include Kohli in the World Cup team based only on his performance in the Afghanistan series. They think that Kohli is not in the rhythm to take a chance in the T20 World Cup team. It is believed that the selectors will not budge from their plans to drop Kohli if they fail to do well for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL starting on March 22, 2024.

During the test series against England last February, BCCI secretary Jai Shah announced that Rohit Sharma will lead India in the next T20 World Cup. However, Jay Shah did not say anything clearly about Kohli's performance in the World Cup. Just said, 'We will discuss Virat's (Kohli's) role in due course.’

According to The Telegraph, BCCI top brass do not want to get involved in Kohli's absence from India's T20 World Cup squad. They have completely left the matter to the selection committee and team management. Roughly speaking, everything depends on the decision of chief selector Ajit Agarkar . A board source told The Telegraph: 'It is still a very delicate matter. Many do not want to associate themselves with it.’

Virat Kohli has not played T20 for India in over 14 months. During this time, young people like Rinku Singh, Tilak Verma, Shivam Dubey, Jitesh Sharma have proved their ability.

Suryakumar Yadav has not only catapulted himself to the top of the T20I batsmen rankings, but has also been praised for leading the side in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya. India won the series 4-1 at home against Australia under Suryakumar's captaincy in November and drew the series 1-1 in South Africa in December.

Rinku Singh's performance is simply incredible. The left-handed batsman, who has played 15 T20s for India, has a strike rate of 176.23 and a batting average of 89. He was unbeaten in 7 after getting a chance to bat in 11 innings. Rohit Sharma's team had a T20 World Cup photo shoot ahead of India's final Test against England in Dharamsala. With Rinku in that photo shoot, it can be assumed that he is guaranteed to play in the World Cup.

Pandya, who was injured in the middle of the ODI World Cup , will return to the field with the IPL, the wicketkeeper-batsman Lokesh Rahul, who was injured in the England series, is also expected to return with the IPL.

Both Pandya and Rahul will be considered for the T20 World Cup by chief selector Agarkar. If Rahul's fitness is not satisfactory, he will look for alternatives. So from now on Dhruv is keeping an eye on Jurel. Jurel made his debut for India in the Test series against England. This youngster has rewarded the trust of the selectors with great batting and wicketkeeping in the series.

With so many performers, the Indian management does not see Kohli's place in the T20 World Cup team, reported The Telegraph. Besides, the management feels that the slow wicket of West Indies will not suit Kohli. Kohli may take some time to settle on such a pitch. For this, the management wants to recruit someone young. The Telegraph also reported that selectors are looking to field separate teams for different editions. This will make 'workload' management easier and players will also get adequate rest.

Chief selector Ajit Agarkar has reportedly spoken to Kohli about what kind of team he wants India to have in the T20 World Cup and why, in his view, changes are needed in the team. He will again convince Kohli to give the younger generation a chance, The Telegraph also reported.

In the end, if Kohli accepts Agarkar's words, he will not play in the T20 World Cup. However, the possibility of Kohli playing in the World Cup cannot be ruled out now. If he can win Agarkar's mind by doing something great in the IPL, he may change his mind. Kohli will have to do that from the start of the IPL. Because, the ICC has given time till the first week of May for the teams to submit the preliminary squad for the World Cup.

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