Fri, 29 Jul 2022 02:17 PM IST
Former India captain Virat Kohli, who has been struggling with form since long, had asked for rest from the West Indies tour, revealed former India cricketer Ashok Malhotra, adding that the selectors didn't want him to rest.
Malhotra, 65, made the revelation in an exclusive interview with Jagran TV. "I had a conversation with the selectors and they said that they didn't want to give him rest but Virat asked for rest," he said.
Malhotra, who represented India in seven Tests and 20 ODIs, also said that he feels it's time for the team management to look beyond Kohli, who has been badly struggling with form.
He said India has great bench strength, which includes players like Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan. He told Jagran TV that these players "are ready to take Kohli's place in the team".
"I know he is a great player but it is difficult to make a come back in the shorter format. It is easy to come back in the longer format, you have time there. But in T20Is, you have hit from the word go and keep the momentum going," he said.
"I think these are worrying signs for Virat Kohli. Also, I couldn't understand Virat's decision to take rest from the West Indies tour because when you are out of form, you would want to play more and more games and score runs. We know he is a great player but even great players need matches to get back to form."
Malhotra, who is also the president and director of Indian Cricketers' Association, also explained that Kohli's "out of form problem is in his mind". He said a player cannot return to form sitting at home, hinting that the former India captain should have been in India's squad for the five-match T20I series against West Indies.
"We all know that he is mentally very tough. But there's a growing pressure on Virat. He has set the bar so high... there's a lot of hope and expectation from him, every Indian wants him to play well. So, I feel his decision to take rest was not right," he told Jagran TV.
"I would like to see Deepak Hooda replacing Kohli at number 3 in T20Is. He is a player in form and you always select somebody who is in form," he added.
He also spoke about head coach Rahul Dravid and said that the India legend needs to take some tough calls as he questioned the place of opener KL Rahul in India's squad for the upcoming T20I World Cup in Australia.
"Rahul Dravid is a gentleman. But he needs to make tough calls now. If you have to choose between KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, who will you go with? What will be your batting order in T20 World Cup?," he told Jagran TV.
"Rahul Dravid is a loved man but if he fails to win the T20 World Cup, then I think the honeymoon period will end and he will face criticism. So, he has to take some tough calls," he added.