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“Maybe Virat Kohli Will Miss IPL Too,” Sunil Gavaskar’s Cheeky Comment Gives Rise To Speculation

With Virat Kohli skipping the ongoing Test series against England citing personal reasons, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar on Monday wondered if the star batter would play in the upcoming Indian Premier League. The IPL 24 will begin with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 22 at Chepauk. Initially named in the Indian Test squad, the RCB talisman pulled out before the opening game in Hyderabad. Earlier this month, the cricketer along with his wife Anushka Sharma announced the birth of their second child.

Kya woh khelenge… kuchh reason ke liye khel nahin rahe hain, shaayad ho sakta hai ke IPL ke liye bhi na khele (Will he play… He is not playing because of some reason, perhaps he may not play in IPL as well),” Gavaskar said rather cheekily when asked if Kohli would be hungry for runs in the IPL as he would be returning to action after a long break.

Gavaskar was interacting with the students of Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi during a Star Sports Star event.

‘Jurel could be superstar’

Gavaskar said wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel, who plays for Rajasthan Royals, could be the superstar of this IPL.

Playing in only his second Test, Jurel won the Man of the Match award for his splendid batting efforts of 90 and 39 not out in India’s series-clinching five-wicket win over England.

“He could be promoted up the order. Jurel could be the superstar after this performance in the Test matches. Even Akash Deep could get more exposure in RCB and play the role of the death over specialist which they were missing last season.” Gavaskar also hailed Mumbai Indians’ move to make Hardik Pandya their captain, paving the way for Rohit Sharma to bat freely, without the additional responsibility of leading the side.

“To allow Rohit to play purely as a batter… it has been a busy season for him, first the World Cup, and now this series.

“This will give him the freedom to play without worrying about other players. My feeling is that it will work very well for Mumbai Indians.

“For Hardik to have someone like Rohit to turn to would be invaluable. Hardik will enjoy having Rohit as ‘captain’.”

‘Let’s not rush Rishabh’

Gavaskar is also excited that his favourite player, Rishabh Pant, will be making a much-awaited comeback after surviving a near-fatal car accident.

“I’m also a big fan of him. For me the most important thing, is he should be healthy like before, so that he can come and entertain us.

“It will be very difficult for him and it will take some time for him to get that batting fluency. But good that he has started training.

“Knee plays a pivotal role in batting as well as keeping — which of course he may not do initially. Maybe he won’t be the usual Rishabh Pant that we are used to seeing,” Gavaskar said.

“He certainly has the ability to think on his feet. If he gets back to full fitness, the reins of (Delhi Capitals) captaincy should be handed over to him.

“Let’s stay hopeful. This season is first of him coming back to full fitness. Let’s not rush him into doing something that there will be a setback,” he added.

‘KKR dark horse, Pandit-Gambhir interaction key’

Terming Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings his favourite teams in IPL, Gavaskar said Kolkata Knight Riders would be the dark horse.

He said for KKR to succeed the “interaction” between coach Chandrakant Pandit and their former IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir would be key.

“Both Gambhir and Pandit are strong personalities and the interaction they would have would be key. The combination they both will make is going to be very crucial. If they click then KKR can become a very, very strong contender for the title.

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