Exclusive: India will need Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma in T20 World Cup; Suryakumar Yadav most dangerous in line-up, says Ravi Bopara | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: The disappointment was evident on the faces of Team India’s players, particularly captain Rohit Sharma and batting maestro Virat Kohli, following their loss in the ODI World Cup final against Australia. The star Indian duo then opted out of the T20I & ODI squads as India embarked on the tour of South Africa, giving rise to speculations if both Kohli & Rohit are no longer willing to continue playing T20s for India.And with the T20 World Cup just six months away, Virat and Rohit’s possible absence from the tournament led to debates on the topic.
The upcoming ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place from June 4 to 30 next year, hosted jointly by the West Indies and the United States. India secured their inaugural T20 World Cup title in 2007, captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, marking their sole title victory in the showpiece tournament since its inception.
Former England cricketer Ravi Bopara, who is currently playing in the American Premier League in the United States, feels India will need their two senior players – Virat and Rohit – for their T20 World Cup campaign.


Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)
TimesofIndia.com caught up with Bopara, who played 13 Tests, 120 ODIs and 38 T20Is for England between 2007 and 2015, in an exclusive interview and spoke about England’s disappointing ODI World Cup campaign and aim to defend the T20 World Cup title, India’s T20 World Cup hopes, Virat, Rohit and much more.
Things didn’t go as per England’s plans in the ODI World Cup. Can they defend the T20 World Cup title next year?
England are a very strong T20 side. They are much stronger in T20Is than in 50 overs. I am confident that England will go on and defend the T20 World Cup title. There are so many players in England’s T20 side who can turn the game on its head. Jos Buttler is there. Will Jacks is there. Adil Rashid is there. They are class acts who have been doing very well for so many years. Every single player in the T20 side is a match-winner for England and can turn the match at any given time.
Ben Stokes didn’t have a good ODI World Cup. How badly England will need him in the T20 World Cup?
Very much. England will need Ben in the T20 World Cup. He is a match-winner. He can come and play under any situation and any can take pressure off the team. He is excellent in both departments – bat and bowl. It is important that he bowls for England so that he can be the sixth bowling option for the team. His presence will also ensure England have a big and strong batting lineup.
How much India will need Virat and Rohit in the T20 World Cup?
A lot. India will need their presence in the important tournament. They should be there and in good form. India would want them to score big runs. They scoring big runs and then others playing cameos can work well for India. You have got SKY (Suryakumar Yadav) there. He is going to be the most dangerous player in the Indian lineup. It is very important that these three fire.


Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images)
How difficult will it be for Hardik Pandya to fill in Rohit’s shoes at Mumbai Indians, who have five IPL titles to their name?
Rohit Sharma has made the MI side. That is the champion side. Now, Hardik will be leading that champion side. They have star players and game-changers. Hardik will be working with the best players. Apart from captaining the side, it will be important for Hardik to bat and bowl well. I hope he has a good tournament with both bat and ball and helps MI succeed and win the tournament. I wish him all the luck.
What’s your favourite moment vs India?
My favorite moment against India was seeing Sachin Tendulkar walk out to bat for the first time. He was my childhood hero, so to see him come out and bat and play against him probably was my favorite moment. From the IPL, my favorite moment was when I played my first season in South Africa (in 2009) and I scored 80 something to win the game for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) at Kingsmead, Durban. I was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’.
You played for Sunrisers Hyderabad as well. Pat Cummins was recently bought by SRH for a whopping Rs 20.50 crore. Should the 2023 World Cup-winning captain be given the captaincy duties of SRH for the coming season?
Possibly. He is an Australian captain and more than that he has guided Australia to the World Cup title recently. I am sure SRH will stick to Cummins to lead the side. However, for me, it is better to stick to a local captain because he understands the side and his team well. But because Cummins is coming after guiding Australia to the World Cup victory, he is also a good option.


Suryakumar Yadav. (Reuters Photo)
You are currently playing in the American Premier League. What has been your experience so far?
I am enjoying it. It is an exciting league, a new league. You can’t compare this with other leagues for now. It is much smaller than other leagues. But a lot of cricketers are here. I hope to win as many games for my team.


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