Virat Kohli unavailable for the first two Tests against England
Rohit Sharma Captain of India and Virat Kohli of India during the India practice session and press conference held at the Holkar Stadium, Indore Photo by Faheem Hussain / Sportzpics for BCCI

Team India is gearing up to take on England in a five-match Test series, starting on January 25, Thursday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Rohit Sharma-led side has suffered a major setback in the buildup to the upcoming Test series. Veteran batter Virat Kohli will miss the first two Test matches against Ben Stokes-led side. Kohli has withdrawn from the first two Tests for personal reasons, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Monday. The BCCI secretary, Jay Shah, has announced that the selectors will shortly name Kohli’s replacement for the first two Tests.

Kohli played an important role in India’s series-leveling win over South Africa at Cape Town. With Kohli out for the opening two Tests, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, and Abhimanyu Easwaran are the frontrunners to claim a spot in the Indian squad for the England series. Most probably Pujara would make the cut as the top-order batter is in rich form and recently became the fourth Indian to complete 20,000 runs in first-class cricket.

The BCCI respects his decision and the Board and team management has extended its support to the star batter and is confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver commendable performances in the Test series, the BCCI said in a statement.

The BCCI requests the media and fans to respect Virat Kohli’s privacy during this time and refrain from speculating on the nature of his personal reasons. The focus should remain on supporting the Indian cricket team as they embark on the upcoming challenges in the Test series, the BCCI concluded.

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