Virat Kohli Withdraws from India’s First Two Tests Against England Due to Personal Reasons
India vs England test series is taking new suprising turns everyday. After Harry Brook decided to withdraw from the test series, now Indian batting superstar Virat Kohli has decided to pull out of India’s first two Tests against England, citing personal reasons.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed this development on Monday, revealing that Kohli expressed the necessity of his presence and undivided attention in certain personal matters.
Despite reaching Hyderabad on Sunday, Kohli chose not to attend the team’s optional training session on Monday. This decision follows his recent absence from the first T20I against Afghanistan for personal reasons, although he returned for the last two matches of the series.
The BCCI is yet to announce a replacement for Kohli, but potential candidates include Cheteshwar Pujara, Rajat Patidar, Abhimanyu Easwaran, and Sarfaraz Khan. Pujara, who last played in the World Test Championship final, showcased good form in the Ranji Trophy with an unbeaten double-century and consistent scores.
Patidar and Sarfaraz made a mark for India A against England Lions, with Patidar scoring centuries in both the tour game and the first unofficial Test, while Sarfaraz managed impressive half-centuries. Easwaran, currently captaining India A, previously replaced the injured Ruturaj Gaikwad as India’s reserve opener in South Africa.
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Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill stand as additional middle-order batting options in the squad, with KL Rahul available purely as a batter. The wicketkeeper’s spot sees competition between Rahul, KS Bharat, and Dhruv Jurel.
Kohli’s withdrawal follows England’s Harry Brook’s decision to withdraw from the entire tour due to personal reasons. However, there’s speculation that Brook might rejoin the touring party at a later date.
The upcoming five-match series against England, starting on January 25 in Hyderabad, is a crucial part of the World Test Championship (WTC). India, currently second on the WTC points table, aims to secure their position behind defending champions Australia.
The absence of key players adds an element of uncertainty to the series. However, England won’t mind Virat Kohli taking a break. It only presents them a sense of relief at least in first two test matches.