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‘Several contenders emerged when Virat Kohli took break…’: Dale Steyn cautions RCB star amid T20 World Cup snub report

Virat Kohli has played just two T20I games since the 2022 T20 World Cup.

Indian cricket fans have been rocked by a recent report claiming that Virat Kohli might not be picked in the national squad for the impending 2024 T20 World Cup. Not only fans, but even veteran cricketers and experts have been left in disbelief over the report, given that Kohli had ended up as the leading run-getter for India in the last edition of the tournament, scoring 296 runs in six matches, which included that iconic knock against Pakistan in Melbourne. Former South Africa cricketer Dale Steyn too has joined the bandwagon to back the former India captain to make the World Cup squad, but cautioned him against the emergence of several contenders during his period of absence.

Dale Steyn has his say on Virat Kohli’s T20 World Cup fate amid reports that he might be dropped

Kohli had taken a break from T20I cricket following the end of the 2022 edition of the World Cup in a bid to focus on the 2023 ODI tournament. He later skipped the Australia T20I series at home and the tour of South Africa as well post the 50-over contest, which sparked discussions over his future in the format before making a return in the series against Afghanistan in January.

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Steyn, in a conversation on Star Sports, reckoned that during that period of break, many young players made the most of their opportunities to make a case for themselves in the World Cup squad. However, the legendary fast bowler added that Kohli must be picked based on his experience of having consistently delivered at the big stage.

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“There are several contenders who have come up because of the break that Virat Kohli has had from the format. But when you look at guys who take you over the line at the World Cups, it’s most of the time guys who have been there and done that. Virat Kohli is certainly one of those guys,” he said.

Although Steyn dismissed the report, explaining that the plethora of runs scored in the format across his career will help him “safely” get through to the World Cup squad, he felt that Kohli needs to have a great IPL 2024 season as a batter to get into a good form heading into the tournament.

“Look, it’s very important that he does score runs. But, at the end of the day, I look at runs like someone’s bank balance. Virat Kohli has got stacks of runs stored over many years. That’s going to work in his favour. When India are looking to pick a team for the World Cup, they are going to look for guys who have been there and done that. It’s extremely important that he does score runs this IPL to put him into good form going into the World Cup. But in terms of selection, it is safe to say Virat Kohli will be going to the World Cup,” he added.

Kohli will be returning to competitive action next week in the season opener against defending champions Chennai Super Kings in Bengaluru for the first time since the first of his second child, Akaay.


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