Former India cricketer VVS Laxman has said that team India will miss Virat Kohli in Australia after the skipper takes his paternity leave following the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“There are options available in the squad. There are a lot of quality players. Since the Test matches are going to be held only in late December, I think the coaching staff and the team management will see which player is doing well. They would also probably see the form of players in the ODI and T20I series, besides the way they have been playing in the nets. Whoever is in form and is looking positive — that is, mind-set and body language — will seize the opportunity, and I am sure there are enough players in the squad,” Laxman said as quoted by IANS.
Even though there has been no hint from the team management about Kohli’s responsibility, it looks like KL Rahul might be asked to take the number four slot with Rohit Sharma opening with Mayank Agarwal.
The young options India have in their squad to replace Kohli are Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, but whether they will be asked to occupy the pivotal position in the middle remains to be seen.
India are unlikely to throw youngsters Gill or Shaw at the deep end. It is not just because they are youngsters but also because they are coming off an average IPL and could be low on confidence.
India’s tour of Australia will kick off with the ODI series from November 27. It will be followed by the three-match T20I series from December 4 before the Virat Kohli-led team begins the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17.
The first Test at Adelaide will be India’s first day-nigt Test outside home soil. It will also be skipper Virat Kohli’s only appearance in all-whites in Australia this time as he would return to India on a paternity leave after the opener.
Kohli had already informed the BCCI about his wish to return to India to unite with his wife Anushka Sharma. They are expecting their first child in January next year.
The day-night Test will be followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).