India needs Virat Kohli at the T20 World Cup, says Kris Srikkanth

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Former India captain and ex-chairman of selection committee Kris Srikkanth has vehemently defended Virat Kohli’s place in the Indian T20 World Cup squad, dismissing rumors suggesting otherwise.

In January, Virat Kohli made his T20 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 semi-final. The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee signaled their intent to include Kohli and Rohit Sharma again in the T20I lineup, indicating their desire to do so for the T20 World Cup.

Srikkanth emphasized Kohli’s pivotal role in the team’s success, highlighting his exceptional performance in the previous T20 World Cup where he was instrumental in leading India to the semi-finals.

“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 semi-finals in T20 World Cup 2022. He was the Man of the Tournament. Who is saying all this? These rumor-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 T20 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 scorer. With Kohli’s return to the T20I set-up earlier this year, 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 percent,” he added.

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 World Cup. He expressed his belief that Kohli deserves to be honored 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 season opener against Chennai Super Kings on March 22 at Chennai.

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