‘Selectors must decide if Virat Kohli is important for India’: Saba Karim on star batsman’s inclusion in T20 World Cup squad

Virat Kohli has come under scrutiny for his poor form lately and former India wicketkeeper-batsman Saba Karim insists selectors must figure out whether the star batsman is part of the plan for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The right-handed batsman hasn’t scored an international century since November 2019.

In the recently concluded tour of England, Kohli couldn’t score a half-century in matches across all formats.

With Kohli not a part of white-ball trip to the Caribbean, there were speculations that the batsman might play in the ODI series against Zimbabwe in August.

Karim felt selectors should not force Kohli to play against Zimbabwe just to prove a point.

“Firstly, I think the selectors and the team management have to figure out whether Virat Kohli is essential for India’s preparation for India’s T20 World Cup side or not. And once the selectors decide the team management feels that Virat Kohli is essential to the team’s success then I’d chart a path for Virat Kohli’s come back to great form. I think that’s the time when the selectors or the captain or Rahul Dravid would love to have a chat with him and then try and take it forward,” Karim told Sports-18.

No force

“I would not want to have any kind of imposition on Virat Kohli that ‘Hey listen, you have to come back and play this Zimbabwe series otherwise we’ll not pick you for the World Cup T20.’ So, I think once you decide that he is such an essential player for the team’s success, then I reach out to him. I’ll say okay, it is up to you to decide whether you want to come back and play the Zimbabwe ODI or you want to take an extended break and come back for the Asia Cup T20,” he added.

Kohli could manage scores of only 11 and 20 in the fifth and final Test against Edgbaston and continued his bad performances in T20Is, where he could score only 12 runs in two innings.

This was followed by 17 and 16 runs in the three-match ODI series against England.

Sub-par IPL

Also, Kohli had a sub-par IPL 2022, in which he could score only 341 runs in 16 games at an average of 22.73 and a sub-par strike rate of 115.98. He could score only two half-centuries in the tournament.

The start batter has not been at his best in the Blue jersey either, scoring 175 runs in eight innings at an average of 21.88 in ODIs and 81 runs in four innings at an average of 20.25.