Having already missed the first two Tests against England due to "personal reasons", Virat Kohli is now expected to miss the next two games in Rajkot and Ranchi as well, ESPNcricinfo reported on Wednesday (February 7). There are also doubts over his availability for the fifth and final Test in Dharamsala.
It was three days before the start of the series that Kohli had pulled out of the first two Tests, citing personal reasons. “Virat has spoken to Captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasized that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention,” the BCCI stated in a media release.
The squad for the remaining three Tests is yet to be announced but there’s a possibility of both Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul making a comeback. While Jadeja missed the second Test due to a hamstring injury, Rahul complained of right quadriceps pain after the first Test. With the third Test set to start on February 15, the Indian team management is hopeful that at least one will be available for the Rajkot game.
The two were India’s best batters in the first Test, which the hosts lost by 28 runs. India then replaced them with Rajat Patidar and Kuldeep Yadav in the second Test, which they won by 106 runs and levelled the series 1-1. If both are back, India could replace them with Shreyas Iyer and Patidar. There’s also a possibility of India going with just one seamer. If that happens, one of Iyer or Patidar could remain in the XI.
Mohammed Siraj, who was rested for the second Test due to workload reasons, will also join the squad before the third Test. The right-arms seamer bowled just 11 overs in the first Test and was replaced by Mukesh Kumar in the second encounter. The latter himself bowled only 12 overs in Visakhapatnam.
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