Shastri makes big prediction about Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's T20I future
Speculations have been rife on the futures of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in T20Is for life after the T20 World Cup.
Ravi Shastri expects the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia to be the last assignment in the shortest format for the veteran duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Shastri believes the two Indian batting greats will bid adieu to T20Is after the end of the marquee ICC event Down Under, starting October 16.
Speaking at a media interaction event hosted by sports journalist Ayaz Menon at the Mumbai Press Club, the ex India head coach said the T20 World Cup could be the last time Kohli, Rohit and Dinesh Karthik are playing together in this format.
Ravi Shastri likened the situation to the time of the inaugural edition of the tournament back in 2007, when legends like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly opted out of the competition and allowed a young brigade under MS Dhoni to take over the side in T20Is and the rest is history.
'You don’t want to burden those players' - Ravi Shastri
For Shastri, another strong reason to be made for both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to sign off from T20Is after the T20 World Cup is the demanding schedule across formats, including the next year's 50-over World Cup at home.
"Come what may, I see India having a new team after this World Cup, much like the team which went in 2007—there was no Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly. Dhoni took the side out and won the tournament. The same thing can happen," Shastri said.
"It is not that they are not good enough, but you want them for the other two formats, there is a World Cup coming next year, so you don’t want to burden those players."
The speculations on this being Kohli and Rohit's final T20I assignment have been rife for quite some time now. Approaching the back half of their thirties, the two players have also endured a bit of a decline in their skills for the format, especially Kohli.
Kohli, who holds the critical No.3 spot in the side, has had a worrying and sustained slump against spin bowling. Since the beginning of 2020, the right-hander has a spin SR of only 114.19 in T20Is for India; while going at a pedestrian 105.97 in the IPL over three seasons.
For Rohit, the issue is based on an evident decline in time up his sleeves facing speed. Known for his strong backfoot game, he has tried to mould himself into a powerplay aggressor since the arrival of Rahul Dravid as coach last November. But that has coincided with a dip in his consistency. The batter has a strike-rate of 142.48 for the year 2022 but averages ony 25.71.
At a time when Indian cricket is awash with promising batting talent, it would make a lot of tactical sense if the selectors and the management ask the two big-name gents to focus their energies only on Tests and ODIs after the T20 World Cup and rebuild the T20I side.