A chartered flight and the luxury of being Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Former players raised questions about the management’s thinking of having the two stars on a lightweight series
Any Virat Kohli post on Instagram creates a buzz and hence, the latest one of him flying back to India in a chartered flight from the West Indies proved no different. The master batter, who looked in good nick in the two-Test series and scored a century in his 500th international appearance for India in Trinidad, posted a few pictures of the solo trip on Thursday – which went viral but not before drawing some flak.
Kohli, who along with Rohit Sharma, was rested from the second and third ODIs (a series which India won 2-1), thanked the Global Air Charter Services which arranged a special flight for the star back to India. However, a section of the Twitterati were not happy as they pointed out the dangerous amount of carbon emissions that occur globally due to chartered flights.
“Good to know Virat takes the environment seriously,’’ tweeted @EddyGecko, the dig clear as the former Indian captain and his wife Anushka Sharma have been serious campaigners for global warming in the past. “A chartered flight? Thought he’d avoid it as he’s so concerned about air pollution, double standards should be called out,’’ posted @dotexe786.
Social media and toxicity may go hand-in-hand, but Kohli’s post has certainly given the chartered flight company a huge traction.
India’s ongoing tour of West Indies, meanwhile, has seen them winning both the Test and ODI series but the five-match T20I series (where the tourists lost the first match) may not be as easy a ride. The team management came in for some criticism for ‘resting’ both Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the second ODI, which they lost, before eventually winning the series.
Rahul Dravid, the head coach, defended their decision of giving a well-earned break to the two seasoned campaigners – with an eye to try out a few more combinations ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup and the 50-overs World Cup. However, the ambivalence about using these two stalwarts was clear – surely, they could have been named just for Test series if at all. A case in point was first ODI where after India dismissed the hosts for a paltry 114, Rohit came out to bat at number seven — yes, you heard it right!
Mohammed Kaif, a former Indian batter, minced no words as he said on the sidelines of his book launch: “This West Indies Tour was taken very lightly and we would not judge the team based on this tour. West Indies are struggling a lot. They could not qualify for World Cup. I do not know what the team management is trying to do but main tournaments for me will start with Asia Cup. I would want them to display their best eleven in Asia Cup. Right now there is confusion. If Virat and Rohit had to take a break, then they should not have gone,’’ said Kaif.
“You send a new team if you want to give a break to them. West Indies Tour was not that big. Our second team can also beat them but I would not make any judgements now. I will start judging them (Team India) with the playing eleven they play in Asia Cup, what squad they will have. If you look at West Indies Tour then 17-18 players are there. But to make a squad of 15, you need to be sure of your playing eleven,’’ he added.
Earlier, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar echoed similar sentiments. He, in fact, went a step further by questioning the relevance of the duo’s performance in the Test series itself. “The runs scored by Rohit and Kohli against this West Indies attack begs the question what did the selectors learn that they didn’t know already,” he wrote in his column.
“Wouldn’t it have been better to try out some youngsters and see how they take to Test cricket or is it that the selectors don’t want any sort of challenge from the younger lot to the established players,” he added.