T20 WC: Virat's strike-rate is not a concern for Agarkar

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 02, 2024 IST

Virat Kohli

Mumbai, May 2: There may be a lot of concern being expressed over Virat Kohli's low strike rate in the Indian Premier League, but that was not the issue for the national selection committee as it picked the former India captain for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup to be played in the United States and the West Indies from June 1.

Playing for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, Kohli has scored 500 runs in 10 matches so far in the IPL 2024 at an outstanding average of 71.43, hitting a century and four fifties. However, he has a strike rate of 147-49, which has at times gone down a notch or two, which many people feel has slowed down RCB, thus resulting in the former skipper facing criticism.

Kohli has maintained that he has been essaying the role assigned to him by the team management, which is to hold the innings together. Though Kohli has led the batting charts, RCB are languishing at the bottom of the points table with just six points from 10 matches.

On Thursday, the Chairman of the Selection Committee, Ajit Agarkar said Virat's strike rate was not a part of the discussion.

"I don't think we have been discussing it yet, no. Look, he's been in great form, fortunately in the IPL, so no concerns there at all with regards to how it's going in the IPL. You're still going to a World Cup, it's still international cricket. There is still that gap there, so you've got to prepare knowing that there is that gap there. That's where experience does matter a lot.

"So, no, I mean, if the tournament turns out to be like how the IPL is, I think we've still got enough in the team - the balance or the power - that you can match that. So no, there's no real point in overthinking.

"You look to try and take the positives that are happening in the IPL, form of some of the guys, some of the newer guys coming through those things. But at the end of the day, when you turn up for a World Cup game, the pressures are a little bit different," said Agarkar.

The selection committee chairman also defended picking Rohit Sharma as captain despite him now leading his franchise.

"Generally, as selectors, you want a leader. Rohit has been a terrific leader. There have been six months between the 50-overs World Cup and this one. I know Hardik had been leading in a few series before that.

Rohit’s form in the World Cup...Rohit’s a great player. It's not as if it’s forced on us.

"(There was) A little bit of a challenge. You try and plan before the IPL starts. We had a fair idea of what we were looking for. In IPL, you keep track oft he fitness levels of players. But if you start getting swayed by 3-4 weeks of cricket, there is something wrong with your thinking. All performances are noticed but it will help us in future anyway," he added.

The former India pacer, who was part of the squad that won the 2007 T20 World Cup under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also defended their decision to omit K.L Rahul despite his stellar performance in the ongoing IPL 2024.

The main question the committee faced was related to the non-selection of K.L Rahul, the Lucknow Super Giants captain who is currently among the top five scorers in IPL 2024 with 406 runs to his name. Rahul is quite experienced and has been a consistent performer in the format as LSG captain and has been part of the Indian T20 teams earlier too.

Though Rishabh Pant was considered a sure-shot selection after he made an impressive return from a 15-month injury break at the IPL, Rahul was in contention for the second spot. The selectors, however, opted for Kerala batter Sanju Samson as the second option ahead of Rahul.

"KL is a terrific player. We were looking at someone who bats in the middle. At the moment, he is batting at the top. Sanju, we like to believe he has the ability to come down the order if need be. Rishabh (Pant) is batting down the order for Delhi Capitals. It's about the slots we need. We felt these two are better and have spent more time down the order which might be needed at the World Cup," said Agarkar.

 (IANS) 

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