Afghanistan coach Trott unconcerned on Kohli’s return to India’s T20I side

Virat Kohli, who missed out on the series opener in Mohali due to personal reasons, will be returning to India’s T20I fold after 14 months.

Published : Jan 13, 2024 16:03 IST , Indore - 3 MINS READ

Indian cricketer Virat Kohli.
Indian cricketer Virat Kohli. | Photo Credit: ATUL YADAV

Indian cricketer Virat Kohli. | Photo Credit: ATUL YADAV

When Afghanistan takes on India in the second T20I at the Holkar Stadium on Sunday, the bowlers have their task cut out against Virat Kohli. The former India captain, who missed out on the series opener in Mohali due to personal reasons, will be returning to India’s T20I fold after 14 months, and it will be a big opportunity for him to get into the groove ahead of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in June.

However, Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott isn’t too concerned about Kohli’s presence. “Every team will have world-class players. You have to get accustomed to playing them if you want to start winning games and beating sides. We have to bowl against the best or face up to the best bowlers in the world. That’s a great challenge and why we play this game,” he said on Saturday.

READ | IND vs AFG: Afghanistan coach Trott believes bilateral T20I series against India ‘big step in the right direction’

“There’s no point trying to play this game and (being) not happy to face up to or accept those challenges. I’m excited for our boys. I’m looking forward to seeing how we go against world-class players on the (Indian) side. We have done well in the past. We had a bit of a taste of that in the 50-over World Cup, where we beat world-class sides. I think we can do that in this (T20) format as well,” the former England batter, who has been at the helm of the Afghanistan team for nearly a couple of years now, said.

Ahead of the three-match series, Afghanistan suffered a blow when it lost the services of its star leg-spinning all-rounder Rashid Khan, who is recovering from lower-back surgery. Rashid, however, is travelling with the team. “I think any team in the world will miss Rashid if they had the option of having him in the side. Yes, obviously we miss Rashid. At the beginning of the series, I had said: ‘It’s a great opportunity for somebody else to come in. and gives us more options down the line. Rashid’s back is going to get better as soon as possible. He will be back playing. In cricket, there’s always injuries, and things like niggles always crop up. So, what we need is a good squad, we don’t need just a good XI in the team, and this (Rashid’s absence) presents us with that opportunity,” Trott said.

He praised Rashid for sticking around in India and helping the youngsters with his experience. “As far as Rashid around the side, I don’t think I’ve met a person who’s had a better impact as a team person around the side. Even with the things he has achieved, he still wants to play for Afghanistan even when he’s not playing. So, he’s here helping, influencing the guys. Always good to chat to. Just his presence around the dressing room is great. I can’t say anything more or give a higher praise to him, I suppose,” Trott said.

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