Virat Kohli Absent for First T20I Against Afghanistan | Sportsmonks

Virat Kohli Absent for First T20I Against Afghanistan

Virat Kohli

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli will be absent from the first T20 International (T20I) against Afghanistan in Mohali due to personal reasons, according to coach Rahul Dravid. The skipper will rejoin the team for the subsequent second and third matches of the series in Indore and Bengaluru. Kohli, along with captain Rohit Sharma, is returning to T20Is for the first time since India’s T20 World Cup semi-final defeat to England in November 2022.

Rahul Dravid confirmed the news on the eve of the match, emphasizing that Kohli’s absence is due to personal reasons. The three-match series against Afghanistan holds significance for both Kohli and Rohit, marking their return to T20Is after a break from the format. They had opted out to focus on the World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup in 2023. Dravid acknowledged the need for prioritization, considering the continuous schedule of ICC events and the challenges of managing players participating in multiple formats.

Dravid explained the challenges of scheduling and player workload, stating, “There’s not been a lot of time in between these ICC events. At various stages, in the last couple of years that I’ve been here, we’ve had to prioritize certain formats, certain tournaments, simply because just the amount of cricket that is being played, and just managing the players, it’s impossible for all the players to be playing all the time.”

The T20 series against Afghanistan serves as India’s final T20I assignment before the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA in June. It presents players with the last opportunity, outside the IPL, to stake their claim for the tournament. While the experienced duo of Rohit and Kohli brings valuable expertise, they face competition from emerging young talents who have showcased their abilities in recent months.

Dravid acknowledged the different circumstances leading into this T20 World Cup, stating, “This T20 World Cup is slightly different from that perspective, in the sense that there’s not been a lot of time to prepare for it. So we have to rely obviously on the cricket that we have. And also a little bit on the IPL. But the boys will play T20 cricket. So they’ll be playing here, they’ll play the IPL. We might not get many opportunities to play together, so we’ll just have to work around that.”

With Virat Kohli absent for the first T20I, Dravid confirmed that Yashasvi Jaiswal would open alongside Rohit in Mohali. The absence of Kohli also presents a chance for other players to step up, potentially reshuffling the top order. Dravid highlighted the need for adaptability and flexibility in the team’s approach, given the limited preparation time leading into the T20 World Cup.

In addition to Virat Kohli, the injured Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya will also be unavailable for the series, resulting in an unfamiliar look for the top six in the lineup. The T20 series against Afghanistan is crucial for India to fine-tune their strategy and finalize their squad ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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By- Sahiba Suri

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