Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed dissent over India's approach with Virat Kohli, stating the batsman should be playing more frequently given the breaks he has had in the last two years. He expressed that playing time would have been better for Kohli as well and could have brought him back in form.
The buzz around Virat Kohli is not dying down anytime soon, especially after India's latest squad announcement confirmed the talisman would be missing in action for the three ODIs against Zimbabwe starting in less than a fortnight's time. The former Indian skipper's dismal form ever since the pandemic has raised questions about over-exhaustion and too much playing time. The experts and fans around the world had thus urged the Indian team to allow him rest, with Scott Styris and Ravi Shastri advocating a temporary complete break from the game.
However, renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar is of the opinion Kohli has had enough breaks already and it is time he returned to regular cricketing action. Since regular international cricket resumed in late 2020, Kohli has only played 17 of India's 38 T20Is despite two World T20s being scheduled in consecutive years. This season alone, the 33-year-old has sat out T20Is against South Africa, Ireland and West Indies.
“I think they should have played Virat Kohli in every international match possible, whatever the format because Virat has had his breaks. People are advocating that he should take some breaks and he’s had his breaks. If you look at the last two years, he’s not played a lot of International cricket," said Manjrekar on SPORTS18's show - Sports Over The Top.
Given the inexperienced and objectively inferior bowling lineup of the West Indies and Zimbabwe, it could have bode well for Kohli to feed his confidence by getting some runs. The top-order batter had an uncharacteristically bad Indian Premier League campaign this year and followed it up with a terrible return of just 76 runs in six innings against England across formats. Nevertheless, selector Saba Karim had revealed the cricketer had been given the freedom to choose whether he would play against Zimbabwe, while Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid had been asked to chart a plan for Kohli's future in the team.
“Maybe there’s some logic there that we don’t know about. Maybe they had a chat with Virat Kohli, but my personal view is the more Virat Kohli would’ve played and especially these matches would’ve been better for him," Manjrekar added.
Virat is next expected to be in action in the Asia Cup beginning later this month and his performances there might determine whether he makes the squad for the World T20 in October.