BENGALURU: Former Indian captain Kapil Dev on Monday took a swipe at senior Indian batsmen such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul for their approach in the T20I format.
India failed to qualify for the semi-finals in the last World T20, played in 2021, and crashed out in the group stage. The failure of the top-order in crucial matches against Pakistan and New Zealand was one of the major reasons behind India’s abysmal performance in the tournament.
“Their reputation is quite big and maybe the pressure is too much, but that shouldn’t be the case. You have to play fearless cricket. All these players (Virat, Rohit and KL Rahul) can play at 150-160 strike-rate. They are such big players but when the time comes to score runs, they all get out,” he thundered.
“We say that you can take your time in the starting – 8,10 or 2 balls – but you get out after playing 25 balls. When the time comes to take off, you get out and hence the pressure starts building,” he stated.
The legendary all-rounder gave an example of Rahul who plays the role of an anchor till the 15th over and then tees off. “If you talk about KL Rahul, you need to talk to him about playing 20 overs and if he scores 80-90, then it is good enough. But if you play 20 overs and you are coming back with an unbeaten 60, then you are not doing justice to the team,” he opined.
In the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), all three of them batted at a strike-rate lower than 140 which hurt their teams’ interests.
Dev insisted they should overhaul their approach and exhorted them to live up to their stellar reputations.
“I think the approach needs to change. If it doesn’t, then you would have to change the players. If they are big players, then they need to have a big impact on the team. You are not big just because of the name, but need to be big on performances. If you are a big name, then you should play cricket like that. Otherwise, we are here to talk about it,” he concluded.
The next edition of World T20 is slated to take place this year in October and November. India are gearing up to cross swords with South Africa in a five-match T20I series at home.