Former India captain cites personal reasons for missing home series opener

. Indian cricket superstar Virat Kohli has withdrawn from the first two Tests of the upcoming five-match series against England at home, citing personal reasons. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made the announcement on Monday, January 8, 2024, in a brief statement.

“Virat Kohli has informed the BCCI that due to personal reasons, he will not be available for the first two Tests of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy against England starting on February 10 in Nagpur,” the statement read.

Kohli’s withdrawal is a major blow to the Indian team, as he is arguably their best batsman and a former captain. He has been in good form in recent months, scoring a century in the ODI series against Sri Lanka in December and a half-century in the T20I series against Bangladesh.

There is no official word on what the “personal reasons” are that have led Kohli to pull out of the Tests. However, there has been speculation in the media that he may be taking some time off to be with his wife, Anushka Sharma, who is due to give birth to their second child in January.

Kohli’s decision has also been met with some criticism from fans and former players. Some have accused him of putting his personal life ahead of his cricketing commitments, while others have defended his decision, saying that he should be allowed to take some time off for family reasons.

With Kohli out of the first two Tests, there are a number of players who could be called up to replace him in the Indian team. The most likely candidates are Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, and Shubman Gill.

Iyer is the current vice-captain of the Indian Test team and has been in good form in recent months. He scored a century in the second Test against Sri Lanka in December and a half-century in the first Test against Bangladesh.

Vihari is a more experienced player than Iyer, having played 44 Tests for India. He is a solid batsman who can anchor the Indian innings, and he has also captained India in two Tests.

Gill is a young player who is highly rated by many observers. He has only played five Tests for India so far, but he has scored two centuries in those matches. He is a very talented batsman who could be a long-term replacement for Kohli in the Indian team.

Kohli’s withdrawal is a major blow to the Indian team, but it is not necessarily a fatal one. India still has a very strong batting lineup, with players like Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Rishabh Pant.

However, Kohli’s absence will make the Indian batting lineup less experienced and less intimidating. England will be looking to exploit this weakness, and they will be hoping to take an early lead in the series.

The first Test of the series begins on February 10 in Nagpur. It will be a fascinating match to watch, as India look to cope without their star batsman and England look to take advantage of his absence.