India batter Virat Kohli will miss the opening T20 International (T20I) against Afghanistan in Mohali on Thursday (January 11) due to personal reasons, head coach Rahul Dravid has confirmed. However, Kohli is expected to be available for the second and third T20I, which will be played in Indore (January 14) and Bengaluru (January 17) respectively.
Kohli has not played a T20I for India since the T20 World Cup semi-final loss at the hands of England in Adelaide in November 2022.
Dravid has also said Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma will open the batting for the hosts in the series. These are the only three T20Is India will play before the T20 World Cup, which begins on June 1, co-hosted by the USA and West Indies.
India go into the series without Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, who have been ruled out due to injuries. Ruturaj Gaikwad, too, was unavailable after sustaining a finger injury on the South Africa tour.
For Afghanistan, skipper Ibrahim Zadran had earlier confirmed that leg-spinner Rashid Khan will not be available for the series as he continues to recover from his lower-back surgery. Barring Rashid's injury, Afghanistan are full-strength Mujeeb Zadran, Naveen-Ul Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi sorted out their contract issues with their board.