'Can't just go by reputation, you've to look at current form' - Kapil Dev questions Virat Kohli's place in T20I team

"Yes, now the situation is such that you might be forced to bench Kohli from T20 playing eleven," said Kapil Dev.

Virat Kohli and Kapil Dev
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Virat Kohli and Kapil Dev. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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Virat Kohli’s prolonged struggle with the bat has sparked a debate about his place in the side with the T20 World Cup fast approaching. The latest person to critique the former Indian captain is Kapil Dev, who raised a question mark on Kohli’s selection in the T20I team if a player like Ravichandran Ashwin’s calibre is not in contention for the Test squad.

Ashwin, currently ranked no.2 in the ICC rankings for bowlers in Tests, hasn’t been a part of the white ball team since January and didn’t feature for the Indian team in the fifth Test against England. The veteran spinner’s selection in the national team remains doubtful even with nearly 450 wickets in Test matches.

Kapil remarked that if Ashwin can’t make it into the team that the place of Kohli in the T20I squad should also be doubtful due to his protracted lean run of form.

“Yes, now the situation is such that you might be forced to bench Kohli from T20 playing eleven. If world No. 2 bowler Ashwin can be dropped from the Test side then (once upon a time) world No. 1 batter can also be dropped. Play in-form players when you have loads of options. You can’t just go by reputation, but you have to look for current form,” Kapil told ABP News.

If the selectors don’t pick Kohli, it could be because he isn’t performing: Kapil Dev

Kohli wasn’t a part of the T20I series opener against England but has returned for the remaining two games of the series. Meanwhile, according to reports, the former Indian captain has requested to be left out of the T20I squad touring the West Indies later this month. Kapil expressed his views on the matter and stated that if he is not in that squad, then it means that the selectors have decided to drop him since he is not performing at his usual high level.

“Virat is not batting at a level which we have seen him do over the years. He has made a name because of his performances but if he isn’t performing, then you can’t keep the performing youngsters out of the team. You can call it rest and someone else will call it dropped. Obviously, if selectors don’t pick him (Kohli), then it could be because a big player isn’t performing,” the legendary cricketer quirked.