India levelled the five-match Test series against England in the second Test with a brilliant 106-run win in Visakhapatnam on February 5 but Virat Kohli return to the squad remains in doubt. Jasprit Bumrah was named the Player of the Match for his sensational nine wickets in the game. But India’s batting remained a concern, especially in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Only a few days before the start of the series, the former captain had sought a break from the BCCI for personal reasons informing them he would be unavailable for the first two Tests. However, there is still no update on Virat Kohli return with the third Test set to commence on February 15 in Rajkot.
India head coach Rahul Dravid attended the press conference after the win and expectedly, he was asked about Kohli’s availability. Responding to the same, Dravid remained non-committal and stated that it would be better to ask the same question to the selectors.
What did Rahul Dravid say about Virat Kohli return?
Dravid stated that the management and the selectors would connect with Kohli before the squad announcement for the last three Tests. “I think it’s best to ask the selectors. I am sure they are the best people to answer ahead of the team selection for the next three Tests. We will get to that. I am sure there will be a selection over the next few days. We will connect with him and find out,” Dravid said.
Virat Kohli’s absence has hurt India in the batting department as the man was in very good form. He also looked the best batsman by distance for India on South Africa tour on tough pitches. He was the highest run-scorer for India scoring 172 runs in four innings at an average of 43. The team missed his experience and presence on the field in both Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, with the batters unable to live up to their expectations.
Reportedly, the 35-year-old is not in India and has travelled abroad due to a family emergency. For the unversed, only recently Kohli’s very good friend and former cricketer AB de Villiers shed light on the matter saying that the former is expecting his second child and that he is spending time with family.
“All I know is he is fine. He is spending a bit of time with his family (and), that is the reason he is missing the first two Test matches. I am not going to confirm anything else. I cannot wait to see him back,” De Villiers said on his YouTube channel.
Earlier, BCCI had urged, in its release, to refrain from any kind of speculation in case of Virat Kohli’s absence. However, it is worth noting that the same release stated that the cricketer would be available for the last three Tests.
With nine days to go still for the third Test in Rajkot, there’s very much a possibility of Kohli joining the squad. Having said that, the squad announcement is expected soon and by then, things should be clear when it comes to his availability for the last three Test matches as India looks to seal the series yet again coming from behind at home.