Virat Kohli returned to international cricket in the Asia Cup 2022 edition, post the England tour, and announced his comeback in style. He ended the tournament with 276 runs — second-most overall — including two half-centuries and a hundred. Thus, the 33-year-old ended his international century drought, since late 2019, by finally reaching his 71st ton at the highest level.
With Kohli returning to form, the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team management will breathe a sigh of relief despite their dismal run at the Asia Cup, eventually won by Sri Lanka. Going ahead into the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia from October-November, the Indian star batter will now look to carry on in similar stead in the home series versus Australia and South Africa and go big in the forthcoming mega event Down Under. Prior to the T20 WC, where India will look to end their ICC-title drought, Pakistan’s former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has made a bold prediction.
“Kohli might just take retirement after the T20 World Cup. He may do that to extend his longevity in the other formats. If I was him, I would have looked at the larger picture and taken a call,” Akhtar said in a LIVE session hosted by India.com.
Seeing Kohli’s blitz in the continental tournament, held in the UAE, Shahid Afridi recently gave retirement advice to the former Indian captain. “The way Virat has played, the start that he had to his career, there was a struggle initially before he made a name for himself. He is a champion and I believe there comes a stage when you are headed towards retirement. But in that scenario, the aim should be to go out on a high,” Afridi told Samaa TV.
“It shouldn’t reach a stage where you are dropped from the team and instead when you are at your peak. It seldom happens though. Very few players, especially cricketers from Asia Cup make that decision, but I feel when Virat does it, he will do it style and probably in the same manner in which he started his career,” the former Pakistan captain and all-rounder concluded.
Seeing Kohli’s fitness, it is highly unlikely that he will retire post the T20 WC. But given India have plenty of young batters waiting in the wings, he might just sideline himself from the format with the ODI World Cup to be played in India in late 2023.