Virat Kohli fans… look away! It may be a little longer before you see your favourite back in action. Kohli, who withdrew from the first two Tests against England, is now likely to miss the upcoming two matches in Rajkot and Ranchi, and remains a doubtful starter for the Dharamsala game too. The news was confirmed by various media outlets, and as the BCCI delays in announcing the squad for the next or next two Tests, chances of Kohli playing dim further.
Kohli joined the team in Hyderabad ahead of the 1st Test but flew back out the very same day after conversation with captain Rohit Sharma and the team management, as announced by the BCCI. While the exact personal reasons aren’t known – it’s definitely not his mother’s health as confirmed by his brother Vikas Kohli – it could very well do with him about to become a father for the second time, a development revealed by AB de Villiers. Is he really out? Is there an outside chance of him returning? Only time will tell.
But if Kohli indeed is out, it’s a big setback for not just India but the world over, reckons Nasser Hussain. Kohli’s presence always makes a series just that bit interesting but the fact that he may not be available for a contest as intense, big and grueling as an India vs England, promises to take the sheen off it a little.
“Yeah, well nothing’s confirmed at the moment. It’s all speculation whether it’s the next 2 Test matches or three… they’re going to announce their side in the next few hours. Nothing’s confirmed but it will be a blow for India, the series and for world cricket. It’s going to be a special series – it already has been. The first two games have been fascinating, and make no mistake. Virat Kohli is one of the greatest to ever play the game and any series and any side would miss someone of the stature of Kohli,” Hussain said on Sky Sports.
Hussain backs Kohli’s decision
While the world stands divided over Kohli’s decision to prefer family over cricket, the former England captain has come out and showed his support towards the former India captain’s call. In 2022, Kohli took a short two-month long break and Hussain has a gut feeling something similar could be in store this time around as well. At the end of the day, Kohli has been playing since 2008 and despite him being one of the fittest cricketers of all time, the wear and tear is inevitable.
“First thing’s first. The game needs to look after Virat Kohli as well. He’s been playing international cricket for more than 15 years now and if he needs a break to be away with family… get some time away from the game, we absolutely wish Virat Kohli all the best. It means we don’t get the mouth-watering possibility of an Anderson vs Kohli contest that we’ve seen over the years, then be it. But Kohli, and his family and his private life has to come first,” pointed out Hussain.
Virat Kohli absence a blow but India can breathe easy with KL Rahul returning
Kohli was missed by India as their batting in the second innings of both Tests put up an underwhelming show, and with him likely out for another couple of weeks at least, India would be worried. However, Hussain is confident that KL Rahul’s impending return will solve some of their woes. Rahul, who has scored a century and an 88 in two of his last four innings, missed the Visakhapatnam Test due to an injury but is pulling up well at the NCA, increasing his chances of playing in Rajkot starting February 15.
“It’s a blow for India but as we’ve seen, they’ve got a lot of very good young batters and KL Rahul I think, who was injured for the last game and played brilliantly in the last few months, will come back in and will add to their batting.”