Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma made their comeback in the T20 squad for India after 14 months for the 3-match series against Afghanistan. However, Kohli was not part of the squad for the first game in Mohali, Punjabi. It is the first bilateral series between Afghanistan and Team India which is also the last T20I series for the Men in Blue before the T20 World Cup 2024. Head coach Rahul Dravid in the pre-match press conference informed that Virat Kohli will miss the first game due to personal reasons.

The former India captain will be available for the next two matches of the three-match series, Dravid said, adding, “Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma will be opening the innings” for India in the series opener on Thursday. However, Yashasvi Jaiswal was not part of the side as Rohit at the toss informed he was not feeling well which meant Shubman Gill would open the innings with him once again. (WATCH: Rohit Sharma Forgets Name Of Teammate At Toss, Hilarious Video Goes Viral)

“We will bowl first. No particular reason, the pitch is good and it doesn’t change a lot here. A lot to gain from the 3 games, we haven’t had too much T20 cricket leading to the World Cup, there’s IPL, but this is an international game and we’ll try to achieve a few things. I had a chat with Rahul bhai regarding the combination going forward and what we need to do as a group. That’s what we’ll try to do, but winning is the most important thing. Sanju Samson, Avesh, Yashasvi (who didn’t pull off well) and Kuldeep miss out,” said Rohit Sharma after winning the toss.

Virat Kohli is managing the backend of his international career quite niftily, hence AB de Villiers isn’t one bit surprised at the possibility of his good mate playing another T20 World Cup in some months’ time.

Kohli, who last played a T20 during the showpiece’s semi-final against England in Adelaide in November, 2022, is back in the national squad for the Afghanistan T20Is and will play the last two games.

“I am not surprised at all. I am very happy for Virat and Rohit. You want to get your best team out there to win the T20 World Cup.Yes, I understand the criticism out there that youngsters have been missing out and guys who have been playing all the time,” De Villiers, who is a commentator in SA20, told PTI during an interaction with select media.

De Villiers feels that both skipper Rohit Sharma and Kohli are still part of the best Indian T20 side and the move to consider them for the global meet is a prudent one.“I was in a similar position at the back-end of my career and it didn’t work out for me. It’s working out for Virat and Rohit and I think it’s the right move, a smart move as you want your experienced players to be out there and they have been there and done it before and they can try to win World Cup for you,” De Villiers, one of South Africa’s greatest batters in the post-apartheid era, said.

Asked what is it that ticks for Kohli and the recipe of his near 16-year journey for India, De Villiers spoke about the optimum balance that an elite sportsperson needs to strike, something he wished to have achieved. (IND vs AFG 1st T20I: Afghanistan Head Coach Jonathan Trott Says Afghans Have Plans To Stop Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma)

“Virat grew up with cricket in his blood and that keeps him going. Same thing that kept me going and towards the end of my career when fire started burning out that’s when I called it a day. I think he has got a fantastic balance in his life with his family and spends a bit of time with them. He has started managing his career well which I could have done better towards the end of my career,” De Villiers said. (With PTI inputs)

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