Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team Credits: Twitter

Former Pakistan Cricketer Shoaib Akhtar feels that Indian veteran Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have a lot of cricket left in them following their brilliant performance in the recently concluded ODI World Cup 2023. The Men in Blue are said to be entering a transition period, with senior Indian cricketers nearing the twilight phase of their careers.

With the T20 World Cup coming up next year, BCCI is likely to bring a few changes within the team management. According to reports, head coach Rahul Dravid is unlikely to extend his contract, and Rohit is also unlikely to play in the shortest format, with no details about Virat Kohli.

Speaking on Zee News, Shoaib Akhtar believes that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have a lot of cricket left in them and has urged the potential next Indian captain Hardik Pandya to respect the experienced Pros, citing the examples of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli respecting their senior players during their stints as Indian captains, and wants him to repay the senior players’ gratitude by supporting them for the next few years.

“If you ask do Rohit and Kohli have cricket left in them? Yes, definitely. Do you get a better opener than Rohit in the world right now? No, you don’t,” Shoaib Akhtar said.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar Credits: Twitter

“When Dhoni came, he gave respect to Sachin Tendulkar. When Virat came, he respected Dhoni. When Rohit replaced Virat, he also gave him respect. So, now it’s up to Hardik Pandya how he wants to send these two great players off. It’s up to him now to put his foot down. And he has to bid them goodbye respectfully. They deserve this respect.

“I’m maybe putting pressure on Hardik Pandya through this but he needs to give that respect to Rohit and Kohli. He is in the team because of them. The kind of favours he has got in the team from them should be repaid. And they are legends of Indian cricket, so they should be given due respect before they are let go,” Shoaib Akhtar concluded.

According to reports, Indian captain Rohit Sharma and former Indian skipper Virat Kohli are likely to be given complete freedom to decide their future in T20 internationals, ahead of the forthcoming T20 World Cup which is slated to take place in the United States and the West Indies in June 2024. Both last appeared in a T20I for India in the 2022 T20 World Cup, when India lost to England in the semifinal stage of the marquee event.