India suffered a heartbreaking defeat against New Zealand in the first T20I in Ranchi. The Men in Blue failed to chase 177 as they were restricted to 155/9 by the Kiwi bowlers. Had it not been for Washington Sundar’s heroics at the fag end, India would have lost the match by an even bigger margin. 

The hosts lost a flurry of wickets upfront in the chase and left a lot to do for the rest of the batters. Captain Hardik Pandya (21 off 20) and Suryakumar Yadav (47 off 34) tried to bail the team out but had too much to do on a turning track in Ranchi. It was India’s first-ever defeat in T20Is at the venue and hence it would have hurt more.

While it was not the biggest of totals as per T20I standards, Indian batters looked in hurry and kept losing wickets. No one tried to play an anchor and force the game into a thrilling finish. Now, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has sent a suggestion for captain Pandya and coach Rahul Dravid if India are to win the 2024 T20 World Cup. 

On his YouTube channel, Latif stated that while India could replace some players, the quality of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma was hard to find in their ranks. Hence, the Indian team management should reconsider its decision to drop the two veteran batters from T20Is and must bring at least one of the two. 

“You might get a replacement for KL Rahul but it won’t be that easy to find replacements for seasoned players (like Kohli and Rohit). Yes, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan might take their places in the future. But these are similar players with similar experiences, playing at the same time. Can these players take you to the T20 World Cup final?” said Latif. 

“Gill, Shaw, Tripathi, Hooda, Ishan… can these players take you to the final? In yesterday’s match (1st T20I vs NZ), there was a problem when they didn’t have a senior player. If they had a senior player, he could’ve taken them past the finishing line. So, Hardik Pandya and Rahul Dravid might have to consider bringing at least one of the two (Rohit and Kohli) if not both in the mix,” Latif added.