Former India captain Virat Kohli’s place in the Indian team has been a topic of debate in the last few months with fringe players making their opportunities worth. Deepak Hooda, who had scored a century in the Ireland series and has proven his versatility in the batting line-up, is among them. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar on Tuesday opined that Kohli is well aware now that he is no longer irreplaceable in the Indian line-up, but New Zealand great Scott Styris reacted to the same with a blunt reaction. (Asia Cup 2022, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Live Score)
Speaking on Star Sports ahead of the start of the third Asia Cup 2022 game between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Sharjah, Manjrekar opined on Kohli’s place in the Indian team based on the sides new T20I batting template and also talked about his forma ahead of the Men in Blue’s second game against Hong Kong on Wednesday.
“There are two ways to look at it. Virat Kohli has already embraced this new approach which is slightly contrary to his nature because he likes to take some time in the middle and then get going by this new approach does not allow him that comfort to take time. The other thing is that he has nothing to lose. He is playing as per the team’s plans so he can go out there are express himself as per the team say. But how many ever runs he gets against Hong Kong when you are again playing against a team like Pakistan it is back to square one,” he said.
The veteran batter then added that Kohli is well aware that young players like Shreyas Iyer and Hooda are competing strongly against him for a place in the Indian T20I team which is not making things easy for the 33-year-old who is made a return to the side in the Pakistan match after a month’s break.
“The other thing that will make things difficulty for Kohli is that he knows there are some young players with some serious form behind them who are pushing for a place in the playing XI. Deepak Hooda got a hundred recently. There is Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer as well. He is aware of all this so it isn’t easy. But the fighter that he is, he will make it count,” he explained.
Styris, who was part of the discussion, immediately stopped Manjrekar with a straightforward reaction questioning his opinion. He said that no matter how good other players will be, none should ever question Kohli’s spot in the Indian side.
“I can’t believe that Kohli’s place in the team is under threat. I still can’t believe that. As good as Hooda and the likes of Ishan Kishan and the players at the top top who could come in over the next year. Are we really talking about Kohli not making this team?” he questioned.
Manjrekar further explained saying, “I’m just saying that he is aware that there are players pushing for a slot which makes you…rather does not give you the comfort that you are irreplaceable. They will still take him to Australia. Only a brave person will leave him out.”
Kohli scored almost a run-a-ball 35 in the match against Pakistan where India won by five wickets. He will be raring to make the most of the match against Hong Kong on Wednesday.