Ganguly opines on exclusion of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma from T20I squad

The former India captain shared his opinion on the two leading greats missing from the team's T20I plans since the previous edition of the T20 World Cup. 

Indian cricket may have informally pressed the transition button in the shortest format, but Sourav Ganguly believes there is still a place for experienced heads Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the T20I side. The former skipper reckons even today the Kohli-Rohit duo will add value to the team's plans heading into the men's T20 World Cup in early 2024.

The two big guns weren't part of the young squad picked for the forthcoming West Indies series on Wednesday (July 5), with premier allrounder Hardik Pandya continuing to lead the side. Kohli and Rohit haven't played any T20Is for India since the team's gutwrenching semifinal exit at the World Cup's previous iteration in Australia last November.

The one-sided loss to England in Adelaide with an obvious decline observed in their reflexes and hitting abilities, especially versus spin, and the importance of them remaining fit and prolonging their stints in Tests and ODIs, had garnered calls for transformation and has perhaps also compelled the decision-makers to look in a different direction. 

Ganguly, however, has a contrasting take on the matter and feels if Kohli and Rohit are still India's best players, they should be playing the format as long as their performances fit the bill. 

Ganguly on Rohit, Kohli's future in T20Is

Speaking to '' for an interview, Ganguly said the selectors shouldn't rush to a conclusion on the two greats of Indian cricket and must keep their availability and value in mind before deciding on a long-term plan. 

"Pick your best players, it doesn’t matter who they are," Ganguly said. "In my opinion, both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma still have a place in T20I cricket and I cannot see why a Kohli or a Rohit cannot play T20I cricket. Kohli was in great form in the IPL, and both have place in T20 cricket, if you ask me."

Also Read - BCCI to test change in bouncer law for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

While Rohit had a below par IPL campaign again for Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2023, Kohli relished the return to the full-fledged home and away tournament and more pace-dominant realms to produce 639 runs in 14 innings at a strike-rate of 139.82. 

There is a strong feeling, however, that the right-hander's poor state of affairs versus spin could be fatal to the team's cause in the West Indies and USA, as it proved to be in the UAE and Australia in the two previous T20 World Cups. Even in the IPL 2023, Kohli had a below par spin strike-rate of less than 120 on flat pitches.