Virat Kohli Pulls Out of First Two England Tests for Personal Reasons

Virat Kohli Pulls Out of First Two England Tests for Personal Reasons
India has suffered a major setback just three days before the commencement of the five-match Test series against England at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Star batsman Virat Kohli has opted to withdraw from the first two matches, citing personal reasons. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that a replacement will be selected shortly by the committee. Kohli has requested privacy and understanding regarding his decision to abstain from the Test matches scheduled in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.
"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 BCCI respects his decision and the Board and team management has extended its support to the star batter and is confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver commendable performances in the Test series".
“The BCCI requests the media and fans to 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", said the BCCI.
Kohli played India's last Test series against South Africa, which ended in a 1-1 draw. He then missed the first T20I against Afghanistan at Mohali earlier this month due to personal reasons before playing in the last two matches of the series at Indore and Bengaluru. In the absence of Kohli for the first two matches, India will depend a lot on middle-order batters Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer. KL Rahul, named as a wicketkeeper-batter, can also play as a specialist batting option. KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel are the other contenders for the wicketkeeper's spot in India’s playing eleven.
England has announced that middle-order batsman Harry Brook has withdrawn from the India tour due to personal reasons. Subsequently, Dan Lawrence has been named as Brook's replacement in the touring squad, and he is expected to join the team in Hyderabad on Monday. The series between India and England is set to kick off in Hyderabad on January 25, followed by matches in Visakhapatnam (February 2-6), Rajkot (February 15-19), Ranchi (February 23-27), and Dharamshala (March 7-11). As of now, India holds the second position in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship points table with a percentage of 54.16, trailing behind defending champions Australia. Meanwhile, England currently occupies the eighth spot in the points table with a percentage of 15.
Source: IANS