Rajkot: India batter Virat Kohli is poised to extend his absence from cricket, with indications suggesting he will miss the forthcoming third and fourth Tests against England in Rajkot and Ranchi, respectively, says a report.
Kohli's availability for the fifth Test in Dharamsala, commencing on March 6, a pivotal factor under consideration as selectors convene to finalise India's squad for the remaining fixtures as there is no response from Kohli, according to ESPNcricinfo.
Kohli's unexpected withdrawal from the initial two Tests, announced by the BCCI on January 22 citing "personal reasons," continues to raise eyebrows and speculation among cricket aficionados. Despite his brief rendezvous with the squad in Hyderabad before swiftly departing, the BCCI has remained mum on further elaboration, emphasizing Kohli's personal commitments warranting his undivided attention.
With Kohli's pivotal role in the lineup temporarily vacated, the spotlight now shifts to potential replacements and reinforcements for the upcoming Tests. Among players who missed the second Test, Mohammed Siraj is poised for a comeback after a strategic rest period, while the fitness assessments of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, recuperating from respective quad and hamstring injuries, are underway at the NCA in Bangalore.
Though awaiting final evaluations, India remains optimistic about their potential availability for the looming challenges, pending medical clearance.
Rahul and Jadeja's noteworthy contributions in the opening Test underscore their significance to India's batting and bowling arsenals, respectively. Rahul's poised return promises to bolster the middle order, while Siraj's reintegration fortifies the pace attack, complementing the brilliance of stalwart Jasprit Bumrah, whose recent resurgence from injury adds another dimension to India's bowling prowess.
As the series unfolds, India aimsl to maintain momentum following their comeback victory in Vizag, leveling the five-Test encounter at 1-1. With back-to-back Tests looming in Rajkot and Ranchi before culminating in the series finale in Dharamsala, India will navigate the challenge of balancing player workload and strategic selections in pursuit of clinching the series triumph. IANS