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Have India Done The Right Thing By Re-picking Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma Before T20 World Cup?

image-lr7crqdkRohit and Kohli have been recalled to India's T20I squad [X.com]

By taking back Virat Kohli for the Afghanistan series and not just the King of batting but even Rohit Sharma, Indian cricket has perhaps initiated an executive decision of sorts that is being met with a polarising view. 

On the first hand, we have those who simply can't imagine the contours of Indian cricket without these thespians, legends who've prevailed for the longest time with incredible success. It is they who are extremely happy to see the gods of Indian batting return. 

And on the other side of things, we have a bastion of fans and observers of the game who were actually ready to see Indian Cricket, a cricketing outfit that was ready, after much trying, to let go to forge a future without these champion cricketers. 

But, this is the very lot that seems at most unease with the administration's decision of factoring back-not in- Kohli and Sharma. 

Their surprise is not surprising enough; after all, Team India had been preparing- or so one thought- for the "what next" after Kohli and Rohit. But here we are. 

In what seems to be a clear aim to once again align the might of experience with the alacrity of its youth, Indian cricket, driven by Dravid's decision-making and the nod of approval of the revered BCCI administration, is to field eleven players for the Caribbean and North America-bound T20 World Cup. 

And the stepping stone to that big ICC campaign is the current Afghanistan series. But all said and done, one simply can't deny the sense of haphazardness indicated by Kohli and Rohit's re-selection in the Indian stable. 

If they were actually part of BCCI's 2024 T20 World Cup plans, to what extent did they play T20Is in the year that just went by? 

There ought to be a sense of continuity and consistency for the effort to culminate into fruition. To win a battle, you need to have your elite commando play a part in skirmishes.

To that end, it is rather surprising and even abrupt that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been reconsidered for the T20 World Cup, having not played a single T20 contest in 2023. 

Those who did play happen to be Indian cricket's most important quintuplet as on date - Kishan, Gill, Pandya, Jadeja and Bumrah. Rahul, scorer of two centuries in the format was, for the most part, absent in 2023 T20I's largely owing to injury. 

image-lr7cy5bpKohli and Rohit didn't play a T20I in 2023 [X.com]

But he's always been an integral part of our briefest format set-up. But Kohli and Rohit weren't played at all; not that they weren't needed, but a clear roadmap was being drawn to prepare a fresh playing eleven for the imminent future. 

This perhaps explains why the dynamic duo that constitutes no less than 7,800 runs jointly in T20I's weren't played in the West Indies. That their importance was duly felt in the way the series swung the Windies' favour was partly evident due to ordinary cricket of those who should have brought sterling ones to the table and partly due to the Windies' men coming to the party. 

But anyhow, Dravid and his decision-making think-tank showed no regrets about not playing Virat and Rohit.

Incidentally, despite factoring in both the legends in what will now be three back-to-back world cups in the format, the previous results haven't exactly gone India's way either. 

Surely, Virat, with 4,000 plus runs to his name in T20I, is a great of the format. But what must be noted is that a standout performance throughout the tournament cannot guarantee eventual success. 

He can, and ditto for Rohit, play another "shot of the century". Their sense of timing and calibre at hitting runs both along and over the ground is unmistakably brilliant. Second to none. 

But batters win you matches, at best, three in a row if one's in fine form. It's bowlers who win you tournaments, as the adage goes. 

If Indian cricket has to really think big, and there's never a better time than now, then it has to let go of its over-dependence on players of charisma and rest on the hopes of those who, too, can bring back laurels. 

Kohli and Rohit have, over the course of the last decade, shouldered the responsibility of billions. There's nothing denying their ingeniousness, even under pressure. 

To this day, we speak of Rohit's double tons and his icy, cool demeanour under pressure. Virat has carved a legend that is, time and again, recounted in geographies that extend the country of his birth. 

But just imagine how far two men can take a team that comprises eleven. That's when the other nine are talented and capable, most of whom have in them the ability to shape the destiny of Indian cricket.  

If anything, Indian cricket is doing a disservice, one dares to say, to the fans and its own self by depending once again on those who've already done enough. 

It's the classic case of a father not retiring or stepping back at the right time for the kin to take over the enterprise and get the show running. 

At the end of the day, a World Cup isn't like an exemplary CSK-driven IPL campaign where a bandwagon of talents chided as dad's army time and again reminds their critics of the perils of taking cricketers touching forties lightly. A World Cup is, at the end of the day, a World Cup. Forget not- that the T20 2024 event is yet another chance for India to correct its mistakes and go all the way. 

But in this way, are India headed that way?