Former England spinner Monty Panesar believes the way Team India perform in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli will determine the future of Indian cricket. Kohli is arguably India's best batsman across all three formats currently. But he will be unavailable for the rest of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy, as he has returned to India for the birth of his first child.
While many believe this is a hammer blow for Team India, Monty Panesar is of the opinion that the visitors cannot always be dependent on the 32-year-old. He reckons there is enough talent in the Indian team to make up for the absence of Kohli. They just need to be given the opportunity to showcase their ability at the international stage.
In an exclusive interview with the Times of India, Monty Panesar spoke about how crucial it is for Team India to perform in the absence of Kohli.
"What is the future of Indian cricket? This is the perfect time to know. Virat will retire one day and India should not be fully dependent on such a class player every time. What is Indian cricket without Virat Kohli? (That's what) we need to find out. This will be proved in the remaining Test matches vs Australia. Once Virat, Ajinkya, and Rohit retire, who will be the next bunch? We need to find out. Shubman Gill will have a big opportunity and responsibility to (put up a) fight in the second Test."
Virat Kohli cannot do all the things alone, let's give opportunities to youngsters: Monty Panesar
Virat Kohli has scored the bulk of the runs for India in the past decade. But Panesar feels it shouldn't always be the Indian captain who puts his hand up when the team needs someone to perform. He believes the likes of KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, etc. are highly talented players and they need to be given opportunities to show what they are made of.
"The series is more about the next generation (of Indian cricketers). I know, there is no Virat Kohli, there is no Rohit Sharma. Let's give opportunities to youngsters in the second Test. This is a big opportunity for them. The youngsters have done really well in the IPL, so let's give them the chance," Monty Panesar asserted.
"KL Rahul, Siraj, Saini, and Shubman are the assets India have in the young category. Let's give opportunities to these youngsters and know what would be Indian cricket after Virat Kohli. Virat cannot do things alone," he further added.
With senior members like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami taking no further part in the Test series, it will be a huge challenge for Team India to stage a strong comeback.
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane will need to lead from the front and instill the belief in his team that they are capable of winning the series, despite the horror show at Adelaide.Published 25 Dec 2020, 12:32 IST