AUS v IND 2020-21: Virat Kohli's absence in Tests huge setback for India, says Rajkumar Sharma

Kohli will only play the first Test vs Australia before flying back to India.

Virat Kohli will play only Test on Australia tour this season | AFP

Indian captain Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma is keenly looking forward to the upcoming “very crucial” four-match Test series between “very competitive” oppositions India and Australia.

India kick starts the long tour with the first ODI of the three-match series on Friday, 27 November, in Sydney followed by three T20Is and Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. However, Kohli will return to India after playing the white-ball leg of the tour and first Day-Night Test in Adelaide from 17 December to attend the birth of his first child after being granted paternity leave by the BCCI.

Kohli’s paternity leave has been a major topic for discussion among the cricket fraternity with many agreeing with the captain’s move while some not happy to see him leaving the crucial tour in middle.

Well now, the 32-year-old’s childhood reacted to the same, though; he didn’t mention his move but said the absence of the Indian captain for three Tests would be a setback for Team India in Australia who would be looking to reclaim Border-Gavaskar Trophy this time at home.

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Sharma told ANI on Wednesday, “It's a very important series and we know both teams are very competitive, this series is very crucial and the world is looking forward to it. After a long time, competitive cricket will be seen and I feel it will be a good series to watch. Kohli will come back after the first Test and it will be a big setback for the team.”

He further explained, “Everyone knows the kind of record Virat has against Australia, he gives the team the desired momentum and he is a sort of captain who leads from the front. He is very focused and determined so I think the Indian team will miss these qualities against Australia. The hosts will have a slight advantage but I hope that the players who get an opportunity in the absence of Virat grab their chance as we have talented players on our side.”

Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane is likely to lead the Indian cricket team in the remaining three Tests and the coach said: “Rahane is a very good player, in Tests, he has a good record, he has good technique and he is a good leader, he will have a chance to establish himself as a captain.”

There have been calls for Rohit Sharma to be named captain of India's T20 side after he won his fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) for Mumbai Indians, but Kohli’s childhood coach didn’t agree with them.

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On the split captaincy, Rajkumar said: “I don't understand why there are so many questions regarding the captaincy, if anyone has doubt then he should look at the records of Virat, don't look at just the IPL record, look at what Virat has done for the country and see how he leads the team, after seeing the records, they themselves will say that Virat should lead the Indian side.”

He also believes that Indian players will be well prepared by the time Test series stars having played the IPL and the white-ball series in Australia, adding: “By playing the IPL, players have got rhythm, it's understood that IPL is a different format but it will surely help players in Australia. We will play ODIs and T20Is first and by the time Tests start, we will be properly prepared.”

Sharma signed off by saying, “Adaptability is important for Test cricket, it's a different ball game but the Indian team will have enough time behind them. They have practiced regularly during the quarantine period so I think the players will be in good shape going into the Test series.”


By Rashmi Nanda - 25 Nov, 2020

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