New Delhi, Jan 9: Former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta said he was surprised at the selection for Afghanistan T20Is, indicating that he believed the team had transitioned beyond the Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli after consecutive failures in the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cup editions.
The dynamic duo of Rohit and Kohli made a comeback to the Indian T20I side after a hiatus of over a year, marking their return against Afghanistan in a 3-match series. The seasoned campaigners hadn't featured in T20Is since India's disappointing semi-final exit against England in the T20 World Cup 2022. Their return is a strategic move by the Indian selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled for June in the West Indies and the United States.
However, Dasgupta acknowledged Rohit's stellar performance in the 50-over World Cup, suggesting that the captain's form might have influenced the decision.
"I thought that the team has moved on in the T20I format. I am a little surprised. But the way that Rohit Sharma has played in the 50 over World Cup was great. The main criticism with the senior India players was the lack of intent in the T20 format," Dasgupta said to Star Sports.
The 46-year-old, while questioning the decision, highlighted the importance of Kohli's experience on the challenging West Indies pitches. He emphasised the need to consider the nature of the pitches, which have shown a tendency to offer spin and exhibit slower characteristics in recent times.
"Obviously we saw that with Rohit and with Virat we have to keep in mind what will be the pitches that we might get in West Indies. Are we expecting 180-200 pitches or something around 160s?" he added, contemplating the strategic implications of the duo's return.
The captaincy role in T20Is has seen a transition from Hardik Pandya to Suryakumar Yadav in the absence of the former. Now, with Rohit and Kohli back in the mix, India faces the challenge of reshuffling their lineup once again as they gear up for the T20 World Cup 2024.
"So, for me, it was surprising because I thought that we were looking beyond these two players in the T20 format," concluded Deep Dasgupta, echoing the sentiment of many fans and analysts as India navigates the complexities of team composition in the lead-up to the global T20 extravaganza. (IANS)