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Virat Kohli may be available for only first two Test matches against Australia: Report – cricket

Team India’s first piece of action in the post Covid world is going to be the tour of Australia. BCCI has announced the squad for the tour with Virat Kohli leading the line for the team. But it has been reported that Kohli might miss the last two Test matches against Australia. It has been said that the Indian skipper could skip the last two Tests due to the birth of his first child. Kohli along with his wife Anushka Sharma announced pregnancy in August. She is due to give birth in early January.

An official word on the skipper’s itinerary is not yet out but a BCCI source told PTI that Kohli can be expected to take paternity leave after the first two Tests of the series starting December 17. Rahane is likely to lead the Indian team if Kohli decides to take a paternity leave.

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“The BCCI has always believed that family is priority. In case, the skipper decides on availing paternity break, he will then be available only for the first two Test matches,” the senior source said on conditions of anonymity.

The four Test matches will be held in Adelaide (D/N, December 17-21), Melbourne (Dec 26-30), Sydney (Jan 7-11, 2021) and Brisbane (Jan 15-19).

The BCCI has, over the years, encouraged cricketers to take paternity breaks and it is no different for India’s captain and best batsman.

“Look, in normal times, he could have flown back for the birth of his first born, missed a Test and played the final one in Brisbane. However, if the 14-day quarantine is still in place, it will be difficult to go and come back again,” the source added.

There is a school of thought that KL Rahul’s presence in the Test squad could be doubly beneficial in such a scenario.

While Rohit Sharma (expected to be fully fit before the Test series starts), Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw are there as opening options, Kohli’s probable absence might warrant a bit more solidity in the middle-order.

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BCCI may send Rohit with Indian team on Nov 11. Rohit Sharma’s presence in the Mumbai Indians playing XI has increased hopes among the BCCI officialdom that the Indian white-ball captain could well board the chartered flight to Australia on November 11 along with the rest of the squad.

“A decision will be taken soon in this regard. It’s only fair that Rohit stays with the team and does his strength and conditioning work under physio Nitin Patel and trainer Nick Webb. Let’s see how it goes,” the source added.

If required, India could rest Rohit for the ODIs, starting November 27, and he can come back during the T20 series.

By the time the Test matches start, he could be fully fit for the rigours of five-day cricket.

He was nursing a hamstring strain but declared that it is “absolutely fine” recently.

(with PTI inputs)

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