Virat Kohli withdraws from first two England Tests for personal reasons: BCCI to name replacement soon

Indian cricketer Virat Kohli withdrew from the first two Test matches against England in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, respectively. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that the former Indian captain has withdrawn due to personal reasons and is likely to rejoin the team in the third Test.

The first of the five Tests against England will begin on January 25 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, while the second match will be played on February 2.

In the recently concluded T20I series against Afghanistan, Virat Kohli also missed the first of the three matches, citing personal reasons. After the 2023 ICC World Cup, Kohli played only a Test match against South Africa, in addition to a short-format match against Afghanistan.

Virat Kohli to miss first two Tests vs England

A BCCI media release said, “Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, team management, and selectors and has confirmed that while the national team always comes first, some personal circumstances require his presence and undivided attention. “I emphasized that.”

Kohli has been in great form against England and has been in great form since the start of 2023. The 35-year-old averaged 42.36 in Tests against England in 1991, when he played in the Test series in South Africa after missing a white-ball match.

This reopens the debate over the number four spot in the team, and there are currently two players in the eleven to fill that spot. KL Rahul has shown good form in all formats and could be the frontrunner for this spot, with Shreyas Iyer filling the position right behind him. Irrespective of Kohli’s exclusion, either Bharat or Dhruv Jurel could be in the starting XI, as both should be in the starting XI.

KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel are his two front-keeper options that can ensure that Rahul does not have to keep wickets. Bharat, who made his debut in the last edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February last year, had several chances, but he could not capitalize on them. Andhra batsmen will be under some pressure to make the most of these opportunities. Meanwhile,
Jhurel earned his maiden call-up to the national team for his consistent performance at the Uttar Pradesh national team level in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. The 23-year-old also made a name for himself with several guest appearances for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL last season.

India has remained unbeaten in Test series on home soil for over a decade, with Alistair Cooke’s England the last team to record a Test series victory here. A lot has changed since their last tour of India in 2021, with the Three Lions implementing a ‘buzz ball’ strategy against various top teams to great effect.

Kohli’s absence will be a setback for the Indian team, who will depend on the likes of Rohit, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shubman Gill to score big runs in the top flight.

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