In a surprising development, the Indian cricket team’s batting mainstay, Virat Kohli, has opted out of the first two Tests against England citing ‘personal reasons’, as confirmed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Kohli had also withdrawn from the first T20I against Afghanistan earlier due to similar reasons, without providing specific details on the nature of the personal situation.
The BCCI released a statement regarding Kohli’s absence, stating, “Mr. Virat Kohli has requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to be withdrawn from the first two Tests of the upcoming IDFC First Bank Test series against England, citing personal reasons.”
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Virat Kohli withdraws from first two Tests against England citing personal reasons.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 22, 2024
Virat Kohli, one of the most prolific batsmen in the world, has always prioritized representing the country, but the statement emphasized that certain personal situations require his immediate attention and presence. The Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma, has been informed about Kohli’s decision, and the captain, along with the team management and selectors, has expressed support for him.
While the BCCI respects Kohli’s decision and acknowledges the personal situations demanding his focus, they are confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver commendable performances in the Test series. The board has requested the media and fans to respect Kohli’s privacy during this time and refrain from speculating on the nature of his personal reasons.
The Men’s Selection Committee is expected to name a replacement for Kohli in due course. With Kohli absent, the onus will be on emerging talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, and others to shoulder additional responsibilities and contribute significantly in the first two Tests against England.
The series is set to commence on January 25 in Hyderabad, with the second match scheduled for February 2 in Vizag. Kohli is expected to return for the remaining three matches of the series.
India Squad For First Two Tests vs England: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (vc) and Avesh Khan