Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley has said that Indian captain Virat Kohli’s absence for the last part of Australia tour was “always on the cards” since he and his wife Anushka Sharma announced their pregnancy.
“When they announced their pregnancy earlier, I think it was always on the cards,” Hockley told Sydney radio station SEN.
Kohli has been granted a paternity leave and as a result he would miss the last three Tests against Australia during India’s tour later this year. He had already informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about his wish to return to India. He and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child in January next year.
The 32-year-old will, however, feature in three ODIs and as many T20Is which will be played before the first Test — a pink-ball fixture — to be played at the Adelaide Oval.
“We’re thrilled Virat is coming out for three ODIs, three T20s, the first ever day-night Test against India and we have to respect the fact he wants to be there for the birth of his first child. Clearly, (he is) one of the game’s absolute superstars. We’re looking forward to seeing him here for seven out of the 10 matches,” Hockley said.
The Cricket Australia chief executive also said both teams have enough stars to ensure that cricket fans will be hooked to the Test series, which was last won by the Kohli-led side in 2018-19.
“You’ve got a good number of players from both sides who played the last series in Australia which India won. There’ll be a huge amount to play for … it will be fascinating series.”
The tour will commence with the three ODIs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (November 27, 29) and Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 2). That will be followed by the three-match T20I series at Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 4) and the SCG (December 6, 8).
Team India will then begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).