T20 World Cup 2024: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's WC selection declared mistake as Sanjay Manjrekar suggests new opening pair

Published - 31 May 2024, 11:17 PM | Updated - 31 May 2024, 11:20 PM

Sanjay Manjrekar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli
Sanjay Manjrekar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (PC: X)

Former India National Cricket Team batter Sanjay Manjrekar has slammed the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee for including icons Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the 15-man squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

The upcoming T20 World Cup will begin in June and it will most likely be the last time the duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will feature together in a T20 World Cup. Rohit Sharma has participated in all the T20 World Cups since the inaugural edition in 2007 while Kohli is the leading run-getter in the history of T20 World Cups.

In 27 matches, Virat Kohli has slammed 1141 runs at an unbelievable average of 81.50 and a decent strike rate of 131.30. Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, has scored 963 in 39 matches at an average of 34.39 and a strike rate of 127.88.

Notably, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were out of India's scheme of things in T20Is since the exit of Team India in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 and they just recently made a comeback to the T20I setup in January against Afghanistan.

As they returned, Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy of the team from Hardik Pandya and the presence of Virat Kohli meant that the youngsters were forced out of the squad. The biggest blow with the return of seniors was faced by Rinku Singh, who did an exceptional job in the lower order for the team India in the opportunities he got, as he was not selected in the main squad, instead, selectors kept him in reserves.

Speaking on Star Sports’ Press Room World Cup edition, Sanjay Manjrekar said that he wouldn't have picked Kohli and Rohit in India's squad as the selection of youngsters would have been ideal.

He opined that the selection of Rohit and Kohli has forced the team management to open with the duo as that will be best for the seniors as well as the team. 

"Ideally, I would not have gone that way; I would have stuck with a slightly more younger kind of, core set of players but the selectors have committed themselves to the icons, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli," Manjrekar said on Star Sports’ Press Room World Cup edition on Friday, as quoted by PTI.

"Now that they are in the squad, it's impossible to have Virat Kohli batting at No. 3 because then you don't get the full rally of Virat. Rohit Sharma has to open, so now, India in a way have forced themselves to have only one kind of combination — two right-handers," he said.

Sanjay Manjrekar further said that the youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal will miss out on the XI with Rohit and Kohli opening for the side.

"Unfortunately, Jaiswal will have to sit out. I would have gone completely with a new lot (and) then he would have had a lot more flair and it would be something different," he said.

"(But) India have trusted the seniors a move that hasn't worked over the years let's hope it works this time," Manjrekar added.

Mohammed Amir played his last international T20 seven years back - Sanjay Manjrekar 

Sanjay Manjrekar also talked about the possibility of the Pakistan National Cricket Team left-arm pacers Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Amir troubling the Indian top-order like they did in the past. 

Manjrekar said that Amir has been out of international cricket for a long period of time and Shaheen doesn't possess the same quality he used to have, hence, handling the pacers won't be a tough job for the Indian team.

"Mohammed Amir played his last international T20 seven years back. We have no idea what his form is like today. Shaheen Afridi is not the same bowler that he was two years ago.

"India have handled him really well, if you remember the Asia Cup, even in the 50-overs World Cup we had a one-sided match. I do not see Pakistan as a major threat to India, plus the names (of) Mohammed Amir and Shaheen Shah Afridi. I do not think this is a problem for India,” he added.


Sanjay Manjrekar Rohit Sharma Virat Kohli Yashasvi Jaiswal IPL ICC T20 World Cup India National Cricket Team