The recall of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to the T20I team for the Afghanistan series all but guaranteed their presence – barring any injury – at the T20 World Cup 2024, which will be played in June in the West Indies and the USA.
The BCCI selectors only seemed to have two options when they named them in the T20I squad for the Afghanistan series: either ditch both or pick both. Now, while Virat Kohli remains arguably the greatest T20I batsman and India’s best batter at T20 World Cups, Rohit Sharma’s place in the T20I side is up for debate.
While the BCCI feels Rohit is necessary to the T20I team, not to forget the broadcasters need these “superstar” players to feed on their stardom during an ICC event, the fans are not on board with the selectors’ decision to go back to Rohit, 13 months after he played his last T20I.
There is a strong argument to be made why a huge number of fans feel that Rohit didn’t deserve a recall to the T20I side and shouldn’t go to the T20 World Cup, let alone leading the side.
Even if you ignore the age factor – Rohit will turn 37 this April – because a number of batters have done well in T20 cricket despite being considered a bit too old for the format, Rohit Sharma’s numbers in the shortest format simply hurt his case.
Rohit Sharma has been ordinary in the IPL for the past many years
The last time Rohit’s strike rate in an IPL season was more than 135 was way back in 2015. In fact, since he started opening regularly in white-ball cricket, in 2013, the 2015 season was the only one in which his strike rate was beyond 140.
In the last two IPL seasons, he averaged merely 20 at a strike rate of 126 with two half-centuries in 30 innings, numbers which would see most batters getting benched by their franchises, or even released.
Despite opening the innings, he has just one IPL century to his name, though he has four T20I hundreds, the last of which came in 2018.
Now, another issue with Rohit Sharma has been that he simply hasn’t been able to turn it up in T20 World Cups.
For a batsman of his talent, caliber, and experience, it’s frustrating that Rohit has been a major disappointment in the last three T20 World Cups: in 16 innings, he averages 23 at a strike rate of 123. His three half-centuries came against Namibia, the Netherlands, and Afghanistan.
Players are judged on consistent performances and not on the basis of one mad knock. If that’s the metric, then you can make a case for even Karun Nair to be a better Test batter than Sachin because Karun Nair scored a triple and Sachin didn’t. But that’s not how it works. And… https://t.co/zXkue1KmPm
— Gurkirat Singh Gill (@gurkiratsgill) January 15, 2024
Rohit’s presence means that either one of Shubman Gill or Yashavi Jaiswal will be benched. It would be harsh on two batters who have racked up big runs at a healthy strike rate – Jaiswal was the most attacking opener last season – since last year in T20 cricket.
It seems that the selectors and BCCI are banking on Rohit Sharma’s experience and bowing down the will of the broadcasters, hoping that Sharma would be able to carry his World Cup 2023 form into the IPL 2024 and then the T20 World Cup