File image or Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid together© AFP
Ever since the 2022 T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli hasn’t featured for India in the T20Is, though the team has played two T20I bilateral series after the mega event. Kohli was the highest run-getter at the 2022 T20 World Cup with a tally of 296 in six matches. He scored half-centuries in four of those games. His continued absence from the T20I side has led to question marks on his future in the format. The question once again got raised at the pre-match press conference ahead of India’s third ODI against New Zealand. India head coach Rahul Dravid was present at the press meet.
“Till last year, Virat’s position in the T20I team was in question…” a journalist asked, when Dravid interrupted him midway and said: “Not by us sir. Not at all, never by us!”
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On being asked, why Kohli wasn’t playing in the T20Is, despite being named in ICC’s T20I team of the year (2022), Dravid said: “There are certain priorities we need to give to certain white-ball tournaments at particular stages of time. The amount of cricket we are playing…the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the World Test Championship, potential qualification, important games for qualification perspective for us. There are certain white-ball tournaments that we had to prioritise, the priority after the T20 World Cup has been these six games.
“As you’ve seen, Virat has played all these six games. He’ll get a bit of a break along with Rohit and 1 or 2 other guys in the next week while we play some T20I cricket. And they come refreshed on the 2nd and we have a good week’s camp before we play Australia. So yeah it’s just priorities. We have to prioritise certain formats.”
India next play against New Zealand in the final ODI of a three-match series on Tuesday. The Rohit Sharma-led side has already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
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