Indian test captain Virat Kohli is all set to miss three tests from December’s upcoming Border-Gavaskar series. Earlier on Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed that it has granted Kohli paternity leave to miss out on the final three games of the test series.
Kohli to miss last three Australia tests due to expected child-birth; Rahane to captain the test team
The BCCI’s official release seems to hint that Kohli and the Indian board had pre-meditated on the likelihood of him missing out a few matches. As per the release, the Indian captain will be present to lead his side only for the limited-overs series, and the first day-night test match at Adelaide. Following this, he will return to India to be with his wife Anushka Sharma. The couple is expecting the birth of their first child in January next year.
“At the selection committee meeting held on October 26th, 2020, Mr. Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide,” the BCCI’s official statement reads.
In Kohli’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane, the incumbent vice-captain of the test side who has had prior captaincy experiences against Afghanistan and Australia, should slot in as the full-time captain.
Rohit Sharma back in the test team; Varun Chakravarthy replaced by T Natarajan
Additionally, the BCCI has also offered clarity on the availability status of several other players across each of the three-format teams. Rohit Sharma, vice-captain of the Limited-Overs teams, who had originally been overlooked because of an injury, now finds himself back into the test fold.
Meanwhile, Varun Chakravarthy, Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) mystery spinner in the ongoing IPL season, misses out from the T20I team with a shoulder injury. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) fast-bowler Thangarasu Natarajan replaces him in that team. The ODI team has been further bolstered by wicket-keeper Sanju Samson’s addition to the squad.
There is, however, still a certain ambiguity surrounding the availability of some red-ball players. Wriddhiman Saha (hamstring) and Ishant Sharma (muscle-tear) have ‘provisionally’ retained their places in the team despite their injuries.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper).
Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj.
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan.
India’s tour to Australia marks the men in blue’s first international assignment in the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour kicks off on November 27 with the three-match ODI series. The subsequent T20I and test series start from December 4 and December 17 respectively.