Virat Kohli withdraws from first two Tests against England; Patidar, Sarfaraz in contention : The Tribune India

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Virat Kohli withdraws from first two Tests against England; Patidar, Sarfaraz in contention

Virat Kohli withdraws from first two Tests against England; Patidar, Sarfaraz in contention

Virat Kohli’s absence will open doors for the fringe players to showcase their skills against England.



PTI

New Delhi, January 22

India’s batting mainstay Virat Kohli has pulled out of the first two Tests against England due to personal reasons which “demand his presence and undivided attention”, the BCCI said today.

The BCCI urged the fans and media to refrain from speculating about the exact reason for his forced break before the five-match series begins in Hyderabad on January 25. The board stated it will name a replacement for the star batter soon.

“Virat Kohli has requested the BCCI to be withdrawn from the first two Tests of the upcoming Test series against England, citing personal reasons,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

The BCCI also said that Kohli has discussed his decision with skipper Rohit Sharma and the team management. “Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasised that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention,” it stated.

It has been learnt that both Shah and chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar were kept in the loop about the possibility of Kohli needing a break at some point during the England series.

Recently, Kohli also skipped the first T20I game against Afghanistan due to “personal reasons”.

Before that, he had taken a short break, again for personal reasons, during India’s tour of South Africa where he missed an intra-squad practice game and flew to London, within days after arriving in South Africa.

It is understood that one among the two heavyweight India A performers — Rajat Patidar of Madhya Pradesh and Sarfaraz Khan of Mumbai — are the frontrunners to replace Kohli.

Big chance for Yashasvi

Chennai: Young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal could cement his place in the Indian Test side during the upcoming five-Test series against England at home, feels the legendary Sunil Gavaskar.

The former captain believes that the Indian pitches would allow the 22-year-old to express himself in a better manner than the hard and bouncy tracks of South Africa. “The home pitches would be different. The pitches in South Africa were tough due to extra bounce, and even experienced batters struggle, whereas Yashasvi is a youngster,” Gavaskar told a TV channel.

“However, with the approach that he displayed in Centurion and even in the West Indies, there’s a belief that he would cement himself on the Indian tracks. You need a left-hander in the top-order. Although I cannot say it with all certainty, he is likely to cement himself in the Test side in this series,” he added.

Meanwhile, former India seamer Irfan Pathan has termed the No. 3 batting slot for Shubman Gill as a great responsibility, besides asserting that he will cherish it forever. Gill came up with a poor performance at No. 3 in South Africa, managing just 74 runs in four innings. However, Pathan believes that Gill is in the right zone with the correct mindset, and he should do well on the Indian pitches.

“It’s a great role for him (to bat at No. 3), and he will cherish it for the rest of his life. The comfort he showed on the South African pitches, he appears to be in the right zone. Although, he might not have made a top score, he is likely to carry the momentum and capitalise on the Indian pitches,” he said. — PTI

Stokes good to go for Test series: McCullum

Hyderabad: Captain Ben Stokes is like a “greyhound” and he is “good to go” for the five-match Test series against India beginning here on Thursday, England coach Brendon McCullum said. The 32-year-old Stokes underwent surgery in November for his long-standing left-knee problem. “He (Stokes) looks like a greyhound. He’s put the work in, everyone knows his work ethic is phenomenal,” said McCullum. England arrived in India yesterday and trained for the first time at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium today. Stokes had trained with the squad during their camp in Abu Dhabi last week, but did not bowl. He is unlikely to bowl in the Test series also. “I’ve seen him running around and I think he’s good to go. We’ll obviously make that call as late as we need to. But he’s put all the work in, and we’ll just have to wait and see,” McCullum said. Uncapped spinner Shoaib Bashir could not accompany the team due to visa delay, and remained in Abhu Dhabi. “We’ve also got a little bit of support out there for him so he’s not on his own,” McCullum said.

#BCCI #Cricket #England #Virat Kohli


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