New Delhi, Jan 10: One of the biggest talking points from India’s selection for the upcoming T20I series against Afghanistan, starting from January 11, has been the return of captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who are now in line to mark their first T20I appearance after playing in the T20 World Cup in Australia in November 2022.
Amidst the chatter over recall of Rohit and Virat being a step back from India’s youthful policy in the format, MSK Prasad, the former India chief selector, thinks the duo should be getting back to action in the shortest format and said there are no doubts in his mind about the veteran duo playing the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies from June 1-29.
"I do understand that Rohit and Virat were given a bit of rest after the South Africa tour. I think that was needed, after a mega event like the ODI World Cup. They needed that kind of a break. So, fortunately, they have had a healthy break and have done reasonably well, the youngsters. See, my opinion is there's absolutely no doubt that Virat and Rohit will be a part of the T20 World Cup, so they should start playing right from this series," said Prasad to Star Sports.
Rohit and Virat had been absent from the T20I format for more than a year due to being present in lead-up to the 2023 World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup in 2023 on home soil, where India finished runners-up on both occasions.
"The question arises, why they didn't play after the last T20 World Cup. The reason they didn't play is we were heading towards an ODI World Cup, so we predominantly wanted to focus on ODIs. That's the reason they offered other youngsters who were maybe thinking towards the T20 World Cup.”
“So that's a wonderful thing from both of them, and even the selectors and team management have got it right. Because if we are heading towards the ODI World Cup, it is better to focus on the ODIs, and we had the WTC also. So, they were focusing on test cricket and ODI cricket. Now that we are heading towards a T20, they should be back to action," added Prasad, the former India wicketkeeper-batter.
It will be the first time India will be facing Afghanistan in a bilateral men’s T20I series, with the matches happening on January 11, 14 and 17 in Mohali, Indore and Bengaluru respectively. This will be India’s last international series before the T20 World Cup.
"I would definitely prefer to have the best possible team. The reason is that these are the only three T20s that are left before we get into the IPL and get into an actual T20 format. But for the injured players, I think I would definitely have our main players playing in this T20. Let's not forget that Afghanistan is a very competitive side and will do whatever possible," added Prasad.
He also thinks the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee will have a headache over picking India’s squad for the mega event. "I think players like Virat, Rohit, even for that matter, Shami, Bumrah, Siraj, Jadeja, and Hardik, other than those names, there are a few places where I feel players like Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson, if KL Rahul is keeping wickets, who is your second keeper? What if Rishabh Pant is fit? What if Ishan Kishan is ready?”
“If we are going to pick him, what order is it? So I don't think that we need somebody at the top of the order. We needed someone in the middle order, so if Sanju throws his hat into the selection, all these things will definitely come into the picture.”
“Somebody like Yashasvi Jaiswal or even Shubman Gill, form will definitely be a factor, he's established but still these are few places which will definitely depend on the form they will exhibit in the IPL. So it's important they keep ringing the bell so the selectors have a good headache." (IANS)