Dropping Virat Kohli from the Indian team in any format may have been unthinkable even about a year ago but it is something that is looking like a possibility at least in T20 internationals. The former India captain has not scored an international century for the last three years but his overall form has seen an alarming drop this year.
Kohli scored just 341 runs in 16 innings this season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at a paltry strike rate of 115.98. He then managed scores of 11 and 20 in the fifth Test against England. Moreover, Kohli has played in just two T20Is since the end of the T20 World Cup last year.
Former India captain Kapil Dev has said that if ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can be benched during Test matches, as he was throughout India's five-Test series against England last year and in Edgbaston this month, why can't Kohli be left out of the T20I squad. "Yes, now the situation is such that you might be forced to bench Kohli from T20 playing eleven. If world No. 2 bowler Ashwin can be dropped from Test side then (once upon a time) world No. 1 batter can also be dropped," Kapil told ABP News.
"Virat is not batting at a level which we have seen him do over the years. He has made a name because of his performances but if he isn't performing, then you can't keep the performing youngsters out of the team. I want competition for places in the team in a positive sense that these youngsters should try and outperform Virat," Kapil, who had led India to their first World Cup title in 1983, further said.
Kohli is among the players who have been rested for India's upcoming series in the West Indies. He was also rested for India's first T20I against England on Thursday, which they won by 50 runs. Kapil feels that if Kohli is "rested" for the West Indies T20I, it would rather be considered as "dropped".
"You can call it rest and someone else will call it dropped. Every person will have his own view. Obviously, if selectors don't pick him (Kohli), then it could be because a big player isn't performing," he observed.
"Play in-form players when you have loads of options," said Kapil. "You can't just go by reputation but you have to look for current form. You can be an established player but that doesn't mean that you will be given chances even if you fail five games in a row," he concluded.