India need experience of Rohit, Kohli at 2024 T20 World Cup: Irfan Pathan

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan reckons that India will need the experience of senior pros Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma at the 2024 T20 World Cup, scheduled in June in West Indies and USA. Both the players have not played a 20-over international since India’s 10-wicket defeat to England in the 2022 World Cup semi-final as the team management has preferred youngsters with an eye on the future.

Having narrowly missed out on winning the silverware with an agonizing defeat in the 2023 ODI World Cup, the upcoming multi-team event is being seen as another critical chance for Kohli and Rohit to claim the elusive ICC title, especially with age not being on their side. However, India’s T20I operations since the 2022 World Cup cast doubt as there remains uncertainty on whether the two remain part of 2024 plans. As per Pathan, though, they must.

“Personally, I would like to see Virat on the pitch because when we talk about two years back, definitely he was not in his best form. But the last IPL and T20 were one of the most amazing tournaments for him. Also, when you are playing in countries like West Indies and the USA, there are quite a few unknown pitches, and here you will need experienced players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, both on and off the field,” Pathan told Star Sports.

“The playing of both the players also depends upon team management and their fitness, but I would love seeing both of them on the field, especially when Rohit has also changed his form and has been making a lot of runs in One Day Cricket,” he added.

Kohli’s form has been outstanding in the last 1.5 years: Sunil Gavaskar

Pathan’s co-panelist and former India great Sunil Gavaskar echoed similar sentiments, highlighting Kohli’s stellar returns in 2023 while also mentioning how both Kohli and Rohit are a value addition in terms of ground fielding.

“Kohli’s form has been outstanding in the last 1.5 years. He played unbelievably in the 2023 World Cup, making 750 runs with 3 centuries. So there is no doubt about his limited-overs batting. But what makes me feel good is their fielding capacity. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are still great fielders and will be of great help on the field,” said Gavaskar.

Gavaskar also touched upon the role of the 2007 World Cup win in the emergence and subsequent success of the IPL.“I was present at the 2007 T20 World Cup, and it was one of the most exciting times. I’ve seen MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan playing on the field and winning for India. Clearly, from there, the craze for T20 boomed in India. Before that, nobody was very well-versed with this format. That win of India helped IPL as well to take off in India,” Gavaskar said.