Why ‘Resting’ Kohli For Zimbabwe Series Is Unwise

| Updated: 31 July, 2022 3:57 pm IST

BENGALURU: On Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the ODI squad for the series against Zimbabwe. Along with Rohit Sharma, the selectors decided to rest Virat Kohli also for the upcoming series.

India are slated to play three ODIs against Zimbabwe from August 18 to 22 in their backyard.

Kohli was also rested for the recent ODI series against West Indies which India won 3-0 under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan. The omission of Kohli from the ODI squad is both puzzling and utterly daft.

The former Indian captain is going through a bad patch in all formats for more than two years. During this phase, he has not scored a single century and is ostensibly scrambling to regain his lost mojo. The selectors, however, have made it clear that a player of Kohli’s calibre cannot be written off and he is in their scheme of things for the future. He also has the backing of India’s regular captain Rohit Sharma.

That is why it is truly baffling why he is being ‘rested’ for the ODI series against minnows such as West Indies and now Zimbabwe, and denied the opportunity to get back to form. There is no denying the fact that Kohli has been a world-class batsman and his record, especially in the ODIs, is spectacular. He was India’s most successful batsman across formats in the last decade till the bad form hit him in 2020.

Since 2021, the audacious batsman has scored only 304 runs in the 11 ODIs at an average of 27.63. His form in the Tests and the T20s has also been underwhelming. This is really the first time that Kohli is going through the wringer in his career and he is rightfully backed to the hilt.

But by ‘resting’ him, the selectors have done a great disservice to him. Playing against lesser teams in largely inconsequential bilateral ODI series would have helped Kohli immensely in a bid to get into the groove. There would have been no pressure on him since these series don’t carry much weight and the teams anyway are subpar. The probability of him reeling off a glut of runs against them and getting his form back would have been pretty steep. If he had regained his form in these series that not only would have done a world of good to his confidence but also would have manifested in the T20s and the Tests.

Moreover, the 50-over World Cup is due to take place next year and Kohli is arguably the most important batsman in the team. India will need Kohli to fire on all cylinders if they have to lift the tournament. Despite their crackerjack record in limited-overs cricket in the last few years, not winning a single ICC tournament remains a blot.

In 2010, Yuvraj Singh was axed from the squad for Asia Cup but because of his undeniable match-winning abilities and knack for coming good in big tournaments, he was given plenty of matches to get into his element ahead of the World Cup 2011. Even when many big players were rested for the home series against New Zealand, Yuvraj was drafted into the squad.

Playing so many matches stood him in good stead and the dashing left-hander set the World Cup 2011 ablaze with his scintillating all-round performances. His outstanding contribution was instrumental in India clinching the marquee championship. Sourav Ganguly made a comeback in 2006 as he played almost all the bilateral ODI series ahead of the World Cup 2007.

Kohli has not given any indication that he is sitting out of his own volition. Also, it is not as if he is jaded because of playing too much cricket. Resting him for a series would have been still understandable but ‘resting’ him series-after-series without proper explanation in the lead-up to the 50-over World Cup is bewildering and fruitless in equal measure.

Also Read Story

Delhi Police arrest founder of NewsClick along with one other person

Indian Air Force Gears Up For 91st Anniversary With Key Announcements

EXCLUSIVE| I married Sridevi in Shirdi in 1996, Janhvi was not born out of wedlock: Boney Kapoor

Assam arrests 900 ‘husbands’ amid child marriages, AIUDF says Muslims on target