Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli has been granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the opening Test of the four-match series against Australia next month. Kohli would lead the side in the three ODIs and T20Is (opening ODI on November 27), and the first Test beginning on December 17, before flying back to India.
"...Mr Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide," secretary Jay Shah was quoted in the press release announcing the revised squads for the tour.
Kohli, who is expecting the arrival of his first child with actor Anushka Sharma in January, will miss the Boxing DayTest in Melbourne (December 26-30), New Year's Test in Sydney (January 7-11) and the Gabba match (January 15-19).
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Cricket Australia, facing a lot of heat from broadcasters Seven Network, will not be happy with the absence of the Indian captain -- known for his run-ins with Aussie plates as much as his batting exploits, is a massive draw. The apprehension is that his absence might make potential advertisers go cold.
Meanwhile, limited-overs vice captain Rohit Sharma, who was rested for the ODIs and T20 series due to a hamstring injury, is included in the Test squad. He has been struggling with the injury through the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"The BCCI Medical Team has been monitoring Rohit's fitness and has briefed the All-India Senior Selection Committee on the same,” added Shah. “In consultation with Sharma, it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness and he has been included in India's Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy."
After the IPL, which ends on November 10, Rohit will return to India and undergo rehab along with pacer Ishant Sharma, whose inclusion in the squad is also in doubt.
"(Ishant) has been undergoing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness, he will be added to India's Test squad," Shah stated.
Spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who had, as per reports, hid his shoulder injury during the IPL, was ruled out of the T20 series. Chakravarthy had suffered a labrum tear but continued playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE. He will now have to go under the knife. T Natarajan has been named as the replacement.
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Kamlesh Nagarkoti will not travel to Australia and the BCCI will take the opportunity to monitor the young pacer’s workload at the NCA. Sanju Samson, who was earlier only included in the T20 squad, has been added to the ODI line-up as an additional keeper.
India’s first choice wicketkeeper, Wriddhiman Saha, has now injured both his right and left hamstring in the IPL. The call on his inclusion will be taken later after ascertaining the severity of the injury.
Saha is currently in the biosecure bubble for Team India. The players in the bubble will travel to Australia on Wednesday while Saha is likely to return to India to undergo rehab at the NCA.
T20I: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd.Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan
ODI: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd.Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper)
Test: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd.Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R.Ashwin, Mohd.Siraj
(With inputs from PTI)
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