What’s the story?
Former Australian wicket-keeper batsman Brad Hodge questioned Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s commitment to the national team and even claimed that the star batsman could be saving himself for the Indian Premier League (IPL 2017).
When asked if Kohli was prioritising the IPL, Hodge told Fox Sports News’ Gameday Live, “It’s happened before. Not just Virat, but there are many players that have come up to IPL time and … look, we know it’s a cash-rich tournament, there’s some money up for grabs.
“He gets paid a helluva lot of money – he gets paid a helluva lot of money anyway, so it doesn’t matter – but there are certain players who will limp into IPL time, to make sure they get there and perform well, because it is an important tournament for everyone around the world,” he added.
Kohli had sustained a shoulder injury during the first day’s play of the third Test match against Australia in Ranchi. The captain had chased down the ball in hopes of saving at least one run for his side. But as he dived to stop the ball from crossing the ball, he fell awkwardly on his shoulder and injured himself in the process.
He could not take the field during the course of Australia’s first innings but came out to bat in his usual position and even took the field during Australia’s second innings. However, the star batsman ruled himself out of the fourth Test match in Dharamsala claiming that any player who is not 100% fit should play and there would be no exceptions.
The heart of the matter
Royal Challengers Bangalore face defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the opening match of this year’s IPL on 5th April 2017. Kohli, who is the captain of the Bangalore side, faces a race against the clock to be fit for the opening fixture of the lucrative fixture. It is no secret that the 28-year-old is one of highest paid cricketers in the IPL.
Brad Hodge is of the opinion that maybe Kohli decided to rule himself out in order to get some rest to recover in time for the IPL. The Gujarat Lions coach also spoke about how he hoped that the injury would keep Kohli in the bay when his side takes on RCB in the IPL.
Although RCB open their account on 5th April against the Sunrisers, they do not play Gujarat Lions until 18th April. By then, though, Kohli is expected to be fit and firing.
It is surprising that Hodge could even question Virat Kohli’s commitment to the Indian national team. Time and again, the Delhi-lad has proved what playing in the national colours means to him. That he decided to give the final Test match a miss was, obviously, in the best interest of the team.
Had he played and then aggravated his injury, India would be left with a batsman less and that could have hurt their chances of winning the match.