India captain Virat Kohli is set to miss three of his side’s four Tests against Australia in order to be present for the birth of his first child.
Kohli will lead his country in the one-day international and Twenty20 series that take place in November and December and will stay on for the opening day/night Test at the Adelaide Oval just before Christmas.
After that he will rejoin his pregnant wife, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma. With Australia demanding a strict two-week quarantine for any arrivals in the country, Kohli will not be able to play any further part in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 9, 2020
The Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed in a short statement: “At the selection committee meeting held on October 26th, 2020, Mr Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide.
“The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide.”
The series is the biggest since cricket returned from the coronavirus shutdown and Kohli’s absence will arguably tip the scales in favour of the hosts, who hold top spot in the ICC Test rankings by a tiny margin over New Zealand and India.
Kohli is currently ranked as the world’s second best Test batsman, sandwiched between Australian duo Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
In a further blow for the tourists, prolific opener Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the white-ball leg of the trip due to a hamstring injury but hope to have him fit for the Tests.
Experienced seamer Ishant Sharma has also been added to the red-ball group as he recovers well from an abdominal problem, while Sanju Samson has been called up as cover for Wriddhiman Saha.