Ajay Jadeja has revealed he would not pick Virat Kohli in the Indian T20 side if presented an option given the batsman’s extended patch of lackluster form, albeit it would be a tough choice to make. He went on to elaborate on Virat Kohli’s role in the team and how it impacts their batting strategy.
The debate around Virat Kohli’s form continues after the batsman yet again fell for a paltry score of 1 in the second T20I versus England at Edgbaston. With a plethora of proven IPL talent knocking on the doors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify Kohli’s place in the lineup. Ajay Jadeja has stated he would side with the younger talent if given a chance, despite understanding the potential Kohli has.
"It depends on whom you want to play. I feel you have a choice, it's a tough one to make. If I had to pick a T20 side, Virat probably won't be there," Ajay revealed to Sony Sports.
“I think anyone who is leading the side has only two choices. That's the way I see it. Either you stick to the way you have been playing, give opportunities to youngsters or you go back to your old team that played before you started trying to give opportunities," he added.
Ishan Kishan has been performing consistently as opener alongside skipper Rohit Sharma, while Deepak Hooda has carved out a place for himself at number three with some scintillating knocks. This leaves little room for Kohli in the lineup, whose inclusion in the top order sacrifices the team’s capability to be aggressive from the start according to Ajay Jadeja.
"Virat Kohli is a choice that you have to make. Do you want to play that solidity at the top and then get runs right at the back? It's that old-style when Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will bat at the top and you would have players like Dhoni where they get 60 in the last 4 overs," he stated.
The 33-year-old talisman has over 23,500 runs for India across all formats of the game. He averages over 50 in both limited overs formats, while only just falling short of the mark in Test cricket. However, he hasn’t scored a century in the international arena since November 2019, failing to add to his tally of 70 tons. Nevertheless, Ajay explained that his past exploits urge the team to keep playing him knowing what he can produce on a good day.
"Virat Kohli is a special player. If it wasn't Virat Kohli, he wouldn't have probably playing Test cricket as well," he remarked.
"You look at the numbers and say 'oh, over the last 8, 10 matches, he hasn't scored a hundred'. But you don't leave him out just because he hasn't scored a hundred. You don't leave him out because of what he is done in the past."