Kohli to go on paternity leave after 1st Australia Test, Rohit included for Tests; Natarajan replaces injured Varun Chakravarthy

Kohli will miss three Test matches in Australia to be with his actor wife Anushka Sharma as the couple welcomes its first child in early January. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Virat Kohli will return home midway through the Australia series after he was granted paternity leave, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Monday.


The national selectors have also added Rohit Sharma to the Test squad but have not included him for the ODI and T20I series beginning later this month. He had originally been omitted from all three formats after suffering a hamstring injury in the IPL.


Two weeks after announcing the squads for the tour down under, to be played from November 27 to January 19 next year, the BCCI issued a medical and availability update. According to the media statement, Kohli, during the selection meeting on October 26, had made himself unavailable after the first Test in Adelaide.


“The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test,” stated BCCI secretary Jay Shah.


Rahane may lead


With Kohli returning for the birth of his child, Ajinkya Rahane could don the skipper’s role in the last three Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.


The BCCI also formally ruled Rohit out of the limited-over leg. “In consultation with Mr. Sharma, it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is ... to regain full fitness and he has been included in India’s Test squad,” said Shah.


Left-arm pacer T. Natarajan, picked as a back-up bowler for the Australia-bound contingent, has replaced mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the T20I squad. Varun, who is nursing a shoulder injury, has been ruled out for at least a month.


Ishant Sharma, working at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, will be added to the Test squad “once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness”.


Decision on Saha


Wriddhiman Saha, whose hamstring tear was confirmed by SRH captain David Warner on Sunday, is a doubtful starter for the Test series and a decision on his availability would be made later, stated Shah.


The selectors, who had announced K.L. Rahul as the lone wicketkeeper for the three ODIs, added Sanju Samson as cover.


Kamlesh Nagarkoti, named as a back-up bowler, has been withdrawn to manage his workload.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:57:54 AM |

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