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Kohli withdraws from first two Tests vs England for "personal reasons"

22 Jan 2024
Simon Lewis 22 Jan 2024
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  • Virat Kohli has withdrawn himself from selection for the first two Tests of India’s home series against England.
  • Kohli has scored 8 848 Test runs for India at an average of 49.15 runs per innings.
  • The five-Test series against England starts in Hyderabad on January 25, 2024.
Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli leaves a ball from South Africa's Kagiso Rabada. (credit: Phill Magakoe / AFP via Getty Images)

Kohli withdraws for “personal reasons”

Former Indian skipper Viray Kohli has just announced his decision to withdraw himself from eligibility for selection for India's first two home Tests against England, citing "personal reasons" and the need to have time to attend to such matters. This is according to a statement from the BCCI. 

"Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasised that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention," read the statement.

Kohli had arrived at Hyderabad last Sunday ahead of the 1st Test, ready to take part in the match, although it was noted that he did not attend India's training session the next day, which was an optional training session. 

Public urged to respect Kohli’s privacy

The cricket-loving public was shocked by the announcement, especially as a home Test series against England carries such a high level of importance for local cricket fans.

The BCCI added that it respects Kohli’s decision and have offered the star batter their full support during this time of personal difficulties, adding that it is “confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver commendable performances in the Test series”.

The statement further requested that the media and fans “respect Virat Kohli's privacy during this time and refrain from speculating on the nature of his personal reasons. The focus should remain on supporting the Indian cricket team as they embark on the upcoming challenges in the Test series,” read the statement, issued by Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary of the BCCI.

Second player to withdraw before series begins

Kohli’s withdrawal comes a day after English batter Harry Brook’s announcement on Sunday that he was withdrawing from the tour because of personal reasons. Brook’s withdrawal includes the option for him to rejoin the squad at a later date to take part in the tour, if he is in a position to make such a return.

Kohli’s replacement should be named within the next 24 hours, but speculation is that one of Cheteshwar Pujara, Rajat Patidar, Abhimanyu Easwaran or Sarfaraz Khan will take his place.

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