Before the Indian team travelled to Australia for the upcoming series, the BCCI announced that captain Virat Kohli has been granted a paternal leave following the first Test which begins from 17th December. It meant that Kohli will only play the pink-ball Test in Adelaide but will miss remainder of the series.
Former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath was questioned on how would Kohli’s absence impact the series, and he said that it is a big blow for the Indian team.
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“It will impact the series. The player of his quality and class, for India to lose him in three out of four Tests is a big blow. It will be for the other players to step up. I can totally understand him wanting to go back for his first child’s birth,” McGrath said in a select media interaction.
“Kohli is worth two players; one, as a batsman and two, as the captain, setting the field with his energy and attitude. Australia would want to dominate the series and level the ledger. They have Smith and Warner back,” McGrath added.
The 50-year-old further said that with Kohli only playing the Adelaide Test, he will have to make an impact in that game to help his team win the match, as it would set up rest of the series.
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“That first Test is going to be interesting. That is a day-night Test. India haven’t played a day-night Test in Australia. At night, with the sun setting, it will probably start favouring the fast bowlers.
“It will be about timing, when you are bowling or batting. Virat, if he has to have an impact in the series, will have to make an impact in the only Test he is playing. That will set the tone. Two years back, the first Test win in Adelaide gave them a lot of confidence,” McGrath said.
McGrath further added that the Indian batting-line up is still strong without Kohli and other batsmen will have to step up when he leaves. “You can’t just focus on one player. You have Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul. India has a strong batting line-up,” McGrath said.