Return of Rohit and Kohli reveals hope, apprehension about the road ahead

The coming months constitute a path that leads to the ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States. These three T20Is involving Afghanistan and the Indian Premier League, will be seen as steps leading towards the ICC event

January 08, 2024 11:15 pm | Updated January 10, 2024 06:54 pm IST - Chennai

Backing experience: Selectors have gone back to the assurance of Rohit and Kohli after the duo not playing a T20I for over a year.

Backing experience: Selectors have gone back to the assurance of Rohit and Kohli after the duo not playing a T20I for over a year. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO: KR DEEPAK

Cricket teams, especially their core units, have a tenure linked to World Cups. The modern era however queered the pitch by featuring two World Cups, the conventional ODI-based one and the T20 variant. Instead of the once-in-four-years sporting extravaganza, every alternate year now throws up a global cricketing event.

It has also added to the selector’s woes. Do you place Tests on one side and club ODIs and T20Is together? Or do you get granular even within the ODI and T20 arc and finesse teams accordingly? The return of skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to the Indian T20 ranks, seems to reveal both hope and some apprehension about the road ahead.

The coming months constitute a path that leads to the ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States. These three T20Is involving Afghanistan and the Indian Premier League, will be seen as steps leading towards the ICC event.

Rohit at 36 and Kohli at 35, aren’t the young tyros they were while breaking into the national colours. They have been part of ICC title winning Indian units. Rohit was a member of the 2007 team that won the inaugural World T20 while Kohli was part of the 2011 World Cup winning side. Equally, they were together when India won the Champions Trophy in 2013. India has not won an ICC title since those glory days when M.S. Dhoni was at the helm.

The latest heart-break was the loss against Australia in the World Cup final at Ahmedabad on November 19. Through this championship, Rohit revealed an explosive intent that offered a cushion for the likes of Kohli to prosper. Still, it was presumed that when it came to the T20Is, the duo had already made way for the younger crop.

It was a signal that was evident through the last year as Rohit and Kohli played a T20I together back on November 10, 2022, incidentally the lost T20 World Cup semifinal against England at Adelaide. Hardik Pandya was seen as the natural skipper for T20Is.

Yet, the all-rounder’s injury and Suryakumar Yadav’s latest fitness worry, forced the selectors to prefer assurance and certainty that is obvious in Rohit and Kohli. Perhaps, the two may get another tilt at a World Cup title under the American and Caribbean skies too and gain a sense of closure for the tears they shed unabashedly in Ahmedabad.

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