"Madness if India pick a team and they are not in" - Andre Russell on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli playing in the 2024 T20 World Cup

Rohit and Kohli last played T20Is in the World Cup last year
Rohit and Kohli last played T20Is in the World Cup last year

West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell feels it would be foolish for Team India to go into the 2024 T20 World Cup without the superstar duo of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Despite being stalwarts of Indian cricket, several questions have been going around about Rohit and Kohli's participation in next year's T20 World Cup. They have not played T20Is since India's 10-wicket defeat in the semi-final at the hands of England at the World Cup last year.

In an interview with Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the Legends League Cricket (LLC), Russell emphatically dismissed the thought of India playing the T20 World Cup without the champion duo.

"I don't know why this is a big thing (the debate on Rohit and Virat)," Russell said. "Social media can actually get in the way of cricketers by questioning their potential. Rohit with the experience and Virat being Virat, it would be madness if India pick a team for the (T20) World Cup and they are not in them."

Russell further highlighted the importance of experience in a pressure-filled tournament like the World Cup.

"Experience in World Cups is very important," the Jamaican continued. "You can't send 11 young soldiers to the battlefield. You have to have experience. The young Indian players will give them a run for their money. They have been good in the chances that they have got but I think when the pressure moments come, you need big players."

Despite the heartbreaking end in the 2023 World Cup final, Kohli and Rohit are coming off impressive showings in the recently concluded home ODI World Cup. They finished as the tournament's top two leading run-scorers, with Kohli leading the way with 765 runs and Rohit finishing second with 597 runs.

"They are right in that bracket of Sachin Tendulkar" - Andre Russell

The Indian trio boasts most of the batting records in cricket history.
The Indian trio boasts most of the batting records in cricket history.

Andre Russell further doubled down on his praise for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli by stating the duo is in the same breath as legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

"Rohit is a big game player," Russell continued. "Kohli loves the big stage. When a player enjoys being in such a situation, he is not nervous or tentative. I hope the board doesn't listen to the media and decide.
"I would definitely give them this World Cup. Don't treat big players like that. They have done so much for Indian cricket. They are right in that bracket of Sachin Tendulkar. So, it will be unfair to them. It will be madness if they are not picked."

With only eight T20Is (including the remaining two in the ongoing Australia series) left before the World Cup, Rohit and Kohli have been granted a break from the three games against South Africa.

There is still no clarity on whether the duo are in consideration for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and U.S.A. in June next year.

Following the home T20I series against Australia, the Men in Blue will take on the Proteas in a three-match series starting December 10. The 17-member squad for that series was announced on Thursday, with Suryakumar Yadav as captain and Ravindra Jadeja as his deputy.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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