After India’s heartbreaking World Cup final defeat to Australia last week, the biggest topic of discussion has been the future of veterans Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in T20Is. With the T20 World Cup to be held next year, Team India is set to enter a transition phase. Reports have claimed that head coach Rahul Dravid is unlikely to continue extend his contract, with Rohit also unlikely to feature in the shortest format. While there was no mention of Kohli in those reports, the former India captain has also not played a T20I in over an year.
Over the past 12 months, Hardik Pandya has led the team in T20Is, which is an indication that he is likely to continue with the same going forward.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar feels India don’t have a better opener than Rohit and that both he and Kohli have a lot of cricket left in them.
“If you ask do Rohit and Kohli have cricket left in them? Yes, definitely. Do you get a better opener than Rohit in the world right now? No, you don’t,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar added that if India does go through a transitional phase, it’s Hardik’s responsibility to make Rohit and Virat phase out respectfully.
“When Dhoni came, he gave respect to Sachin Tendulkar. When Virat came, he respected Dhoni. When Rohit replaced Virat, he also gave him respect. So, now it’s up to Hardik Pandya how he wants to send these two great players off. It’s up to him now to put his foot down. And he has to bid them goodbye respectfully. They deserve this respect. I’m maybe putting pressure on Hardik Pandya through this but he needs to give that respect to Rohit and Kohli. He is in the team because of them. The kind of favours he has got in the team from them should be repaid. And they are legends of Indian cricket, so they should be given due respect before they are let go,” he added.