‘Kya Woh Khelenge?’: Sunil Gavaskar Wonders if Virat Kohli Will Withdraw from IPL 2024

Last Updated: February 26, 2024, 22:37 IST

Virat Kohli was the 4th highest run-getter of IPL 2023. (BCCI Photo)

Virat Kohli was the 4th highest run-getter of IPL 2023. (BCCI Photo)

Batting superstar Virat Kohli opted out from the ongoing India-England Test series for the birth of his second child.

Will Virat Kohli also give IPL 2024 a miss? That is the question batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has raised rather cheekily during an event.

Kohli is not part of the ongoing five-match Test series between India and England. He was named in the initial squad for the first two matches but withdrew his name citing personal reasons.

Last week, he announced the birth of his second child lifting suspense over his long absence from the team.

Also Read: Nasser Hussain Points Out India’s ‘Phenomenal’ Home Record

The IPL will get underway a few days after the fifth and final Test between India and England concludes in Dharamsala and it’s expected that Kohli will make his competitive return in the T20 league where he represents Royal Challengers Bangalore.

When asked if Kohli will be eager to score runs given his absence from competitive cricket, Gavaskar responded, “Kya woh khelenge… kuchh reason ke liye khel nahin rahe hain, shaayad ho sakta hai ke IPL ke liye bhi na khele (Will he play… He is not playing because of some reason, perhaps he may not play in IPL as well.”

Kohli was the fourth-highest run-getter during last IPL season with 639 runs from 14 innings as Shubman Gill won the Orange Cap with 890 runs.

The Indian team has been missing a bunch of their first choice players in the ongoing Test series including Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant.

KL Rahul played in the first Test but then missed the next three games after complaining of pain in his right quadriceps. In their absence, the hosts have given chances to a number of youngsters.

Wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel made his debut in Rajkot and has made a promising start to his international career with a couple of impressive innings.

It was his 90 runs in the first innings of the Ranchi Test that helped India recover from the depths of 177/7 when replying to England’s 353-all out. And then in the chase of 192, he made an unbeaten 39 after walking in to bat with the scorecard reading 120/5.

Gavaskar feels Jurel can be the superstar in IPL following his performances in the Test series.

“He could be promoted up the order. Jurel could be the superstar after this performance in the Test matches. Even Akash Deep could get more exposure in RCB and play the role of the death over specialist which they were missing last season,” Gavaskar said.

The former India captain is looking forward to see Rishabh Pant make his long awaited comeback after a horrific car crash in December 2022.

“I’m also a big fan of him (Pant). For me the most important thing, is he should be healthy like before, so that he can come and entertain us. It will be very difficult for him and it will take some time for him to get that batting fluency. But good that he has started training,” Gavaskar said.

“Knee plays a pivotal role in batting as well as keeping — which of course he may not do initially. Maybe he won’t be the usual Rishabh Pant that we are used to seeing,” he added.

Gavaskar though feels that Pant’s IPL franchise Delhi Capitals must not rush his comeback.

“He certainly has the ability to think on his feet. If he gets back to full fitness, the reins of (Delhi Capitals) captaincy should be handed over to him. Let’s stay hopeful. This season is first of him coming back to full fitness. Let’s not rush him into doing something that there will be a setback,” he said.

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