Head coach Rahul Dravid confirmed that star batter Virat Kohli will miss the inaugural T20I against Afghanistan in Mohali on January 11 due to personal reasons. Kohli recently returned to the side after a year-long hiatus but won’t be featuring in the series opener.
In Kohli’s absence, the opening pair for India will comprise skipper Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Notably, neither Rohit nor Kohli has played a T20I since India’s 10-wicket loss in the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final against England.
Dravid clarified that there are no disciplinary issues concerning Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer. Kishan has not made himself available for selection after requesting a break during the South Africa tour. Dravid emphasized that there is no disciplinary action involved in Iyer’s exclusion from the T20I side, stating that it is solely a matter of selection based on team composition and the presence of several batters.
Dravid also dismissed any rumors of a disciplinary reason for Shreyas Iyer’s non-inclusion, stating, ‘Certainly, in Shreyas Iyer’s case, there is absolutely no disciplinary reason for his non-inclusion. It’s just that he missed out. There were a lot of batters in the team. Shreyas missed out, he didn’t play the T20Is in South Africa if you noticed. There are a lot of batters and it’s not easy to fit everyone. So, absolutely, there is no disciplinary reasons at all. At least I didn’t discuss such things with the selectors.’
As the final T20I series before the T20 World Cup 2024 in June, Dravid emphasized the significant role the Indian Premier League (IPL) will play in determining the final squad for the mega event.