Speculation Mounts: Potential Replacements for Virat Kohli in First Two Tests Against England



Virat Kohli has withdrawn from the first two Tests against England due to personal reasons.

India’s batting mainstay, Virat Kohli, has withdrawn from the first two Tests against England due to personal reasons that require his immediate and undivided attention, as announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday.

In light of this development, the BCCI has requested fans and media to avoid speculating about the specific cause for his necessary break before the commencement of the five-match series in Hyderabad on January 25. The Board has assured that a suitable replacement for the esteemed batsman will be announced shortly.

“Virat Kohli has requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to be withdrawn from the first two Tests of the upcoming IDFC First Bank Test series against England, citing personal reasons,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

The BCCI has confirmed that Virat Kohli has communicated his decision to skipper Rohit Sharma and the team management.

“Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasized that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention,” the release further stated.

It has been learned that both Shah and the chairman of selectors, Ajit Agarkar, were informed about the possibility of Kohli needing a break at some point during the England series.

Recently, Kohli also opted out of the first T20I game against Afghanistan due to personal reasons. Prior to that, he had taken a brief hiatus, again for personal reasons, during India’s tour of South Africa. During this time, he missed an intra-squad practice game and flew to London shortly after arriving in South Africa.

The last time Kohli took a break, unrelated to any injury, during a Test series was in 2021 when he took paternity leave after the birth of his daughter, Vamika. He only played the first Test of that series.

Patidar vs Sarfaraz vs Pujara as replacement

It is widely acknowledged that either Rajat Patidar from Madhya Pradesh or Sarfaraz Khan from Mumbai, both heavyweight performers for India A, are the leading contenders to replace Kohli.

Patidar recently showcased his skills by scoring an impressive 151 against the England Lions in an unofficial Test match, while Sarfaraz contributed with a half-century in the second innings of the same game.

There is speculation about the inclusion of veteran Cheteshwar Pujara in the line-up, given his extensive experience of scoring over 20,000 runs in first-class cricket, including 7000 in Test matches.

However, it remains intriguing to see whether the current selection committee, led by Agarkar, is willing to embrace the past or forge ahead with new talent.

The batting line-up for the first Test will feature Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, and KS Bharat as the wicketkeeper.

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