Virat Kohli's return for England Tests remains unclear; KL Rahul may get fit for Rajkot Test

09:29 AM Feb 04, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The return of premier batter Virat Kohli to the Indian team for the remainder of the Test series against England still remains unclear even as the bigwigs are mulling to have a word with the former captain about his plans at the earliest.


Kohli is currently out of the country and it is understood that selection committee chairman Ajit Agarkar or the BCCI’s top brass will speak to him to get a clearer picture to find out whether he is in a position to resume national duty.

Kohli had taken a sabbatical from the first two Tests against England, citing personal reasons.

‘Family comes first as BCCI’s press release stated and Virat will only play if he feels that he is in a position to play,’ a BCCI source in know of things told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

The personal reason for which Kohli opted out of the Tests is the impending arrival of his second child, as revealed by his close friend and former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate AB de Villiers on his YouTube channel.


De Villiers said Kohli has done absolutely the right thing by taking a break.

“Yes, his second child is on the way. It’s family time and things are important to him. If you are not true and genuine to yourself, you lose track of what you are here for.”

“I think most people’s priority is family. You can’t judge Virat for that. Yes, we miss him. But he has made absolutely the right decision,” said De Villiers.

Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer, who have been struggling for big runs, will have to step up in the second innings of the ongoing Test against England in Visakhapatnam because KL Rahul could get fit in time for the third Test starting on February 14 in Rajkot.

The squad for the remaining three Tests against England will be named next week after the conclusion of the second Test.

Shreyas, Gill on notice as Rahul to return?

Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer, who have been struggling for big runs in red ball format, will have to buckle up and score some runs when their turn to bat come in India’s second innings at Vizag.

If they fail to do so, KL Rahul could walk in for one of them in the third Test. Rahul missed the second Test with a quadriceps injury but the word is that the Bengaluru man could be for the next match at Rajkot from February 15.

Both Iyer and Gill haven’t scored a single fifty in their last nine Test innings and time is running out for both of them with the red hot Sarfaraz Khan is sitting in the dug-out and Rahul’s quadricep problem getting better with each passing day.

Cloud over Shami, Jadeja

However, veteran pacer Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja could not figure in the Test series against England.

Shami was not considered for the series while Jadeja suffered a hamstring strain during the first Test at Hyderabad and he was ruled out of the on-going second Test.

‘As of now there is little or no chance that Mohammed Shami (who is in the UK for ankle treatment) and Ravindra Jadeja will be fit for the remainder of the series.

In the case of Rahul, he is getting better and a gap of a week between second and third Test will also help him getting match-ready,’ the source said.


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