The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is grappling with uncertainty over Virat Kohli‘s return to the playing field for the remaining Tests against England. The prolific batsman had taken leave for the first two matches of the series due to personal reasons, leaving the BCCI clueless regarding his availability for the upcoming crucial encounters.
A BCCI source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that the board is unclear about when Kohli will rejoin the Indian squad. Despite the BCCI’s request to avoid speculation on the matter, Kohli’s close friend AB de Villiers disclosed during a YouTube live session that the Indian captain is anticipating the arrival of his second child with actor Anushka Sharma. The BCCI emphasized in a press release that family comes first for Kohli, and his return to the field will depend on his personal considerations.
Family is his priority and Virat will only participate if he believes he’s ready, a BCCI source told PTI. De Villiers supported Kohli’s decision, emphasizing the importance of family and understanding the priorities that players have beyond the cricket field.
Yes, his second child is coming soon. Family matters are significant to him. If you’re not true to yourself, you lose sight of your purpose. I believe family is a top priority for most people. You can’t criticize Virat for prioritizing his family. Yes, we miss him. But he’s definitely made the right call,” he said on his YouTube channel.
Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer, expected to fill Kohli’s shoes, struggled to make a significant impact in his absence. However, Shubman Gill managed to break his slump with a resilient century on Day 3 of the second Test in Vizag, providing a glimmer of hope for the Indian batting lineup. In contrast, Shreyas Iyer continued to struggle, succumbing to a disappointing 29-run score in the morning session of play.
The squad for the remaining Tests against England is set to be announced next week after the conclusion of the second Test, with the selectors facing the challenge of finding a suitable replacement for Kohli in the middle order.
Meanwhile, the cloud of uncertainty looms over the availability of two key players – Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. Shami, recovering from an ankle injury sustained during the ODI World Cup in November 2023, is currently in the UK for treatment. On the other hand, Jadeja suffered a hamstring injury during the first Test against Hyderabad, making their participation in the remainder of the series doubtful.
At the moment, it’s highly unlikely that Mohammed Shami, who’s in the UK for his ankle treatment, and Ravindra Jadeja will recover in time for the rest of the series. As for Rahul, he’s improving, and the one-week break between the second and third Tests will aid his readiness for the match, the source added.
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