Will Virat Kohli play the remaining three Tests against England? Chances are slim, especially for the third and fourth Tests in Rajkot and Ranchi respectively but the BCCI officials and selectors, who are set to meet on Thursday to finalise the squad, are not losing hope. Adding a fresh twist to the tale, a BCCI official told The Indian Express that Kohli hasn’t yet informed anything to the board or the team management but he will be straightaway picked whenever he makes himself available for selection.
Kohli did not play the first two Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam due to personal reasons. The former India captain trained with the rest of the squad members in Hyderabad for a day but decided to withdraw from the first two Tests on the same day. BCCI did not give out details about the nature of the personal reason but requested the fans and media to respect Kohli’s decision. The 35-year-old left India soon after.
Multiple reports did the rounds about the possible reasons for Kohli’s absence but the only concrete information was given by former South African batter and Kohli’s long-time friend AB de Villiers. The former South Africa and RCB cricketer said Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their second child.
“All I know is he is fine. He is spending a bit of time with his family, that is the reason he is missing the first two Test matches. I am not going to confirm anything else. I cannot wait to see him back. He is fine, he is doing well,” AB de Villiers said in a video.
“Yes, his second child is on the way. It’s family time and things are important to him… I think most people’s priority is family. You can’t judge Virat for that. He has made absolutely the right decision.”
BCCI official says Virat Kohli hasn’t informed anything yet
On Wednesday, ESPNCricinfo reported that Kohli is all set to be unavailable for the third and fourth Tests and is also doubtful for the fifth and final one in Dharamsala.
An Indian Express report on Thursday morning, however, quoted a BCCI official saying that Kohli hasn’t given any concrete information.
“Virat will decide when he wants to make a comeback to the Indian side. He hasn’t informed us till now but whenever he decides to play, he will be included in the team,” the BCCI official was quoted as saying in the report.
In Kohli’s absence, KL Rahul batted at No.4 in the first Test. Shreyas Iyer had to be promoted to that number after Rahul was ruled out of the second Test due to an injury.
Rahul is likely to return to the XI for the Rajkot Test starting February 15. Ravindra Jadeja, another player who was injured for the Visakhapatnam Test, is also expected to get his spot back in the XI. It will be interesting to see if the team management backs an under-performing Shreyas Iyer or give another opportunity to Rajat Patidar in the middle-order.