Pakistan captain Babar Azam has backed generational talent Virat Kohli after his form dipped. Kohli missed the first ODI against England with a groin injury and made just 16 in the second match, which India lost by 100 runs at Lord’s.
It means the right-hander has now gone 77 consecutive international innings without reaching three figures, following scores of 1 and 11 in the T20I series and failures in the rescheduled fifth Test. His name is also missing from India’s T20I squad to face the West Indies, with Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal rested for the same tour.
With a T20 World Cup around the corner and World Test Championship points needed to keep up in a race for next year’s final, Kohli’s place in the team has been pondered by fans and former legends, though his Pakistani counterpart has extended his support via social media.
Few understand the difficulties of maintaining world-class form like Pakistan’s skipper, who comparatively is in a purple patch at present.
Making international centuries in recent series against Australia and the West Indies, as well as a T20I half-century against Australia in Lahore last month, Babar is top of the list in the MRF Tyres ICC batting rankings for both ODI and T20Is, and fourth in Test cricket.
Previous in the week, Kohli also found support from skipper Rohit Sharma, who stood up for his teammate ahead of the England ODIs.
“When someone is scoring consistently for so long, we can’t overlook his contribution if he is not scoring in one or two series or in one or two years.
“We know the importance of Virat Kohli. The experts have got all the right to talk about it but for us, these things don’t matter,” he added.
India vs West Indies: India has named an 18-member squad for the five-match T20I series against West Indies.
For the T20I series against West Indies, India has named some players KL Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav in the side, albeit their participation is subject to their fitness, but Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Yuzvendra Chahal are among those missing.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who played the last T20I in November 2021. was added to the squad alongside other spin options like Ravi Bishnoi, Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, who has been rested for the ODI leg of the tour, find a place on the T20I side.
Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh
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Nonetheless, left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh has been rewarded after his outstanding debut against England in the opening T20I, where he returned 2/18.