Opinion: Why Virat Kohli should skip T20Is and some IPL matches before the World Cup
After the historic Test series triumph, the Indian team is now set to begin its three-match ODI series against Australia followed by a five-match ODI series against New Zealand. These matches are extremely important for India to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
It is important that all the core members, as well as those on the bench, get back to the 50-over mode as there are only a handful of games before the quadrennial tournament. By resting Jasprit Bumrah, the team management and selectors have taken the right call. Bumrah’s fitness should be the topmost priority for India as he is prone to injury.
Another player whose workload needs to be monitored is the captain himself. Not just playing in all formats, but captaining the team can take a lot out of any player. Virat Kohli is no exception.
During the Australia series, though he was at his aggressive best in the field, it was apparent that he was struggling with some niggle. He did admit to struggling with back pain. It’s important that he does not aggravate his injury.
Playing ODIs, of course, will be important for Kohli as he needs to gel into the format again and better his form, as he was clearly not at his supreme best with the bat in the recently concluded Australia series. However, he should seriously consider skipping all T20Is starting with the ones against New Zealand.
In an ideal world, Kohli and for that matter, any of the core members of the probable Indian squad for the World Cup should not have to go through the grind of the high-octane Indian Premier League matches just before the premier cricketing event. However, skipping the IPL altogether does not seem to be an option for any player.
So, it is important that Virat Kohli skips at least some matches during the IPL. It is crucial for him to remain fresh not just physically, but mentally as well at the time of the world cup.
Captaining an IPL side can be mentally exhausting for Kohli. He needs to ensure that he remains not just injury-free, but also mentally fresh. Risking an injury by playing a format different from the one in 2019 World Cup is certainly not worth it when you're widely tipped as serious contenders.