Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary batsman, said on Sunday that Virat Kohli should not take a break from India matches, even if he needs one to regain form, and that the former Royal Challengers Bangalore captain should have sat out the Indian Premier League.
Gavaskar’s comments were in response to suggestions for Virat Kohli to take a break after suffering through one of the toughest periods of his career. In 11 matches, the former RCB captain has scored 216 runs at an average of just over 20.
Virat Kohli’s critics have been calling for him to take a break from cricket, citing his poor performance in the ongoing 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL). On Sunday, the former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain was dismissed for his third golden duck of the season after being bowled by Sunrisers Hyderabad’s J Suchith in the first ball of the encounter at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Sunil Gavaskar warns Virat Kohli
In the midst of these calls and Kohli’s disappointing IPL season, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has delivered a stern warning.
Kohli has only 216 runs at a strike rate of 111.3 in 12 innings in the 2022 IPL, with one half-century knock and six single-digit scores. This is his worst performance in an IPL season, prompting calls for a break for the 33-year-old, the first of which occurred last month after SRH pacer Marco Jansen dismissed him.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes Kohli has been “overcooked” and needs a break from the game. Following the comment, numerous former cricketers echoed it, with ex-England captain Michael Vaughan expressing similar sentiments following Kohli’s dismissal on Sunday.
While some experts, such as Kevin Pietersen, may agree with Shastri’s advice, not all experts agree, and legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar is one among them.
According to Gavaskar, the only option for Kohli to regain his form is to play cricket on a constant and uninterrupted basis. Sitting at home will not help him, and rather than giving him a break, the selectors should reassure him that his place in the team is secure.
“I think the thing is that if you don’t play, how do you get your form back? Sitting in the change room, it’s not going to get your form back. The more you play, the more chances you [have of] getting your form back,” Gavaskar said.
Shastri had proposed that Virat Kohli take a break before or after the England tour, but Gavaskar remarked that the break should not come at the expense of international matches, which should be a player’s top priority over anything else, including the IPL.
“As long as the break doesn’t mean he is missing India matches. India matches should be No. 1 priority. It’s as simple as that. All of us want to see him get back to scoring big runs again. You ask all over India, you want everybody in India who follows the game will say ‘we want the form for India’. Right? So you can’t take a break for an India game. You want Kohli to start scoring runs for India. All of us want that,” Gavaskar added.
Gavaskar even blamed the selectors for Kohli’s poor form. He claimed that dropping Kohli during the West Indies series, when he was in good form and had scored a fifty against Sri Lanka, was a tremendous mistake.
“He hit a half-century against Sri Lanka and then he left out for the T20 matches, I believe. There he got runs and looking good and there was all the more,” Gavaskar said.