India great Sunil Gavaskar raised questions about Virat Kohli’s participation in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 amid the star batter’s absence from the ongoing Test series against England due to personal reasons. IPL 2024 is scheduled to kick off with defending champions Chennai Super Kings facing Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 22 at Chepauk.
Virat Kohli, who was named in the squad for the first two Tests, withdrew before the opening game in Hyderabad. Earlier this month, Virat and his wife Anushka Sharma welcomed the birth of their second child, a baby boy. “Kya woh kheleng? 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,” Gavaskar said rather cheekily when asked if Kohli would be hungry for runs in the IPL as he would be returning to action after a long break.
Gavaskar suggested that wicketkeeper-batsman Dhruv Jurel, representing Rajasthan Royals, has the potential to emerge as the standout player of this IPL season. Jurel, playing in just his second Test match, earned the Man of the Match accolade for his outstanding batting contributions of 90 and an unbeaten 39 in India’s series-clinching victory over England.
“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 also hailed Mumbai Indians’ move to make Hardik Pandya their captain, paving the way for Rohit Sharma to bat freely, without the additional responsibility of leading the side.
“To allow Rohit to play purely as a batterâæ it has been a busy season for him, first the World Cup, and now this series. This will give him the freedom to play without worrying about other players. My feeling is that it will work very well for Mumbai Indians. For Hardik to have someone like Rohit to turn to would be invaluable. Hardik will enjoy having Rohit as ‘captain’.”