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T20I legends Kohli and Rohit recalled for T20I series against Afghanistan

09 Jan 2024
Simon Lewis 09 Jan 2024
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  • Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been recalled for the T20I series against Afghanistan.
  • Both last played in a T20I for India in the World Cup semi-final against England in 2022.
  • Both are now likely to be included in India’s 2024 T20I World Cup squad.
Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli hits to leg in the 2023 World Cup final. (credit: SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Recalling two legends

India are set to play three T20I’s against Afghanistan at home from 11 January to 17 January, ahead of the five-Test series against England. They then head into two months of IPL T20 cricket leading up to the T20I Cricket World Cup.

The cricket world was shocked when Kohli and Sharma, two legends of the 20-over game, were recalled to the Indian side after more than a year of unofficial retirement from T20I cricket.  

With Hardik Pandya injured, the presence of both Kohli and Sharma in the side will give the selectors the tough task of having to leave out one or two of the following high-performing T20 players: Tilak Varma, Shreyas Iyer, Rinku Singh or even Shubman Gill.

All-time greats

Kohli and Sharma both last played in a T20I in India’s 10-wicket loss to England in the 2022 T20I World Cup semi-final. Sharma scored 27 off 28 balls, while Kohli slammed 50 off 40 balls. Kohli is the leading run-scorer in the history of T20I cricket, with 4 008 runs at 52.73. Sharma is in 2nd place on the runs list, with 3 852 runs at 31.32.

Although the selection of both players is viewed as controversial in many quarters, the selectors have been wise to give both players the chance to play three T20Is against Afghanistan ahead of the always gruelling IPL season, all of which will give the players the chance to prove their ability in the 20-over format.

Plenty at stake for India

There has been anger that the current crop of younger players have had a year to establish a new order, only for the selectors to backtrack to two “ageing” stars. One of the great strengths of Indian cricket is its depth of talent, and having older and younger players fighting for places is usually a recipe for success as all players have to raise their games and keep it at a higher level to retain their place in the side. 

Ultimately, the selectors’ main aim is to bring a World Cup trophy back to what many consider to be the real home of cricket - India! Kapil Dev’s men won a dramatic Cricket World Cup final in 1983, while MS Dhoni led his charges to a triumphant win in 2007 in the 20-over format, followed by a dazzling win in the 2011 50-over tournament. 

Despite having many of the world’s most talented cricketers for the past decade, India won’t like the fact that it’s been 13 unlucky years since they have won a World Cup, and no doubt that is the reason the selectors are exploring all options for whiteball success in 2024.

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