Virat Kohli a must in T20 World Cup squad: Srikkanth

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli emerged as the top run-getter in the 2022 T20 World Cup. File photo: AFP/Martin Keep

 New Delhi: Former Indian captain and ex-chairman of selection committee Krishnamachari Srikkanth has vehemently defended Virat Kohli's inclusion in the Indian T20 World Cup squad, dismissing rumours suggesting otherwise.

In January, Virat Kohli made his T20I comeback against Afghanistan in a three-match series where he scored 29 & 0 in two matches after not playing the game's shortest format at the highest level since the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal loss to England. The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee signaled their intent to include Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma again in the T20I line-up, indicating their desire to do so for the T20 World Cup.

Srikkanth emphasised Kohli's pivotal role in the team's success, highlighting his exceptional performance in the last T20 World Cup where he was instrumental in guiding India into the semifinals.

"No chance. It's not possible to be without Virat Kohli at the T20 World Cup. He is the one who took us to the semifinals in T20 World Cup 2022. Who is saying all this? These rumour-mongers, don't they have any other job? What is the basis for all this chatter? If India have to win the T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli is a must in the squad," Srikkanth said in his YouTube show.

As per reports, the national selectors and the team management are ready to take some harsh decisions ahead of the tournament. The BCCI doesn’t want to get involved in this and has left it to the selection committee and the team management to take a call. It was also stated that Kohli might get snubbed from the World Cup squad.

Addressing concerns about Kohli's strike rate in T20Is, Srikkanth lauded the star batter's ability to adapt to the team's needs, pointing out his stellar showing in the 2022 T20 World Cup where he emerged as the tournament's top run-getter. Srikkanth reiterated the importance of having a reliable anchor in the batting order, especially in the challenging conditions expected in the West Indies.

"You need a guy who can just stay there. India need that sheet anchor, be it T20 World Cup or ODI World Cup. Without Virat Kohli, the Indian team cannot go. We need Virat Kohli, 100 per cent,” he said.

In a passionate plea, Srikkanth urged the Indian team to rally behind Kohli and strive for World Cup glory as a tribute to his contributions to Indian cricket, drawing parallels to Sachin Tendulkar's iconic triumph in the 2011 ODI World Cup. He expressed his belief that Kohli deserves to be honoured in a similar fashion and envisioned a victorious campaign led by the stalwart batter

“Virat Kohli should be honoured like how Sachin Tendulkar was in 2011. The Indian team should win the World Cup for Virat. It will be a great thing for Virat Kohli," he concluded.

Virat is expected to join the RCB team soon before they head to the IPL season opener against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai next Friday (March 22).

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