An official update on Virat Kohli is yet to emerge but if he is coming back for the remaining three Tests, England and its coach Brendon McCullum are ready. India dearly missed Kohli in the first two Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, as their batting faltered in the second innings of both Tests, and his impending return is sure to boost the hosts in their quest to win the series that is currently locked at 1-1. More so because Shreyas Iyer, his replacement at No. 4, is battling poor form. In these testing times, India need Kohli more than ever, but the suspense around his availability even today is pretty much the same as it was two weeks ago.
McCullum wishes nothing but the best for Kohli, who as AB de Villiers revealed, is with his family as he and Anushka Sharma prepare for parenthood for a second time and said he has immense respect for the former India captain, just like the other members of India’s 15-member squad.
“Virat is one of the greatest players of the game has seen. No doubt it improves this squad. As we have said throughout, the depth in Indian cricket, the talent in India is immense. So we respect every opposition player that we come up against,” Brendon McCullum told TalkSport.
Virat Kohli rules England at home
Kohli has an impeccable record against England, having scored 1991 runs from 28 Tests at an average of 42.36 with five centuries and nine fifties. In fact, he has played more Tests against England than any other opposition – with 25 against Australia being his second most. And when it comes to facing the three Lions at home, Kohli emerges as an even bigger threat. In 13 Tests, Kohli has amassed 1015 runs at an average of 56.38 with three centuries and a highest score of 235 in 2016. If these aren’t intimidating stats, what are? But McCullum is armed and has his plans, tactics to counter Virat-ball, as Sunil Gavaskar bluntly put it.
“If Virat is coming back… we hope everything is well with his family. We will look forward to that challenge too. He is a great competitor. I know him very well and I enjoyed playing against him, I enjoyed our team playing against him. And if you have success against the best, I am sure you have earned it,” added the England coach.
India’s squad for the next Test is expected to be announced this week.