‘Virat Kohli asked selectors to rest him for West Indies tour’: Ashok Malhotra

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New Delhi– Star India batter Virat Kohli has grabbed more headlines for his ongoing rough patch than for his power-packed performances for so many years.

Since 2019, Virat Kohli has been struggling with his form. It’s not like he has not scored runs but the batting marvel has set his standards so high that mere 40 or 50 odd runs would not be counted in line with his talent and potential as anything less than a century is considered a low score by Kohli.

With Kohli’s recent poor performances, questions have also been raised about his place in the team. Echoing similar sentiments, former India cricketer Ashok Malhotra said that it is high time for the team management to look beyond Kohli and give opportunities to youngsters who have performed well in the recent past.

“I know he is a great player but it is difficult to make a comeback in the shorter format. It is easy to come back in the longer format, you have time there. But in T20Is, you have to hit from the word go and keep the momentum going. I think these are worrying signs for Virat Kohli,” Malhotra, who is the President and Director of the Indian Cricketers’ Association, told Jagran TV.

Naming some players who can replace Kohli in the team, Malhotra said, “Players like Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan put pressure on the opposition. These players are ready to take Virat Kohli’s place in the team because Kohli’s bat has been silent for a long”.

Expressing shock over Kohli’s non-inclusion in India’s squad for the ongoing West Indies tour, Ashok Malhotra said that when a batsman is out of form he tends to play more and more cricket to get back that confidence and return to his form. “We know he is a great player but even great players need matches to get back to form”, Malhotra said, adding, “I couldn’t understand Virat’s decision to take rest from the West Indies T20Is because when you are out of form, you would want to play more and more games and score runs”.

Malhotra further revealed that the selectors didn’t want him to rest for the West Indies tour but Kohli himself insisted on taking a rest. “I had a conversation with the selectors and they said that they didn’t give him rest but Virat asked for rest. So, I feel his decision to take rest was not right”, Malhotra said.

Malhotra said that Kohli shouldn’t be taking rest as he can’t return to form just by sitting at home, adding that the expectations from him are putting more pressure on him to perform. “He has to start from zero whenever he makes a comeback from rest. Virat Kohli’s out-of-form problem is in his mind. You can’t return to form sitting at home, you have returned to form on the field”, he told Jagran TV.

“We all know that he is mentally very tough. But there’s growing pressure on Virat. He has set the bar so high and there’s a lot of hope and expectation from him, every Indian wants him to play well,” Malhotra concluded. (IANS)

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