Virat Kohli granted paternity leave by BCCI, to miss majority of Test series in Australia

Source  Cricinfo

India captain Virat Kohli will return home to be with his wife and family owing to the birth of his first child after the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Series 2020-21 at Adelaide, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Monday. 

Kohli, who is considered the Indian cricket team’s batting mainstay and driving force, has been granted paternity leave by the Indian cricket board and he will return home after the first Test in Adelaide starting on December 17. Kohli and his Bollywood actress wife Anushka Sharma had announced earlier on social media this year that they were expecting their first child. 

In what comes as a surprise move by the Indian cricket board, the currently injured-yet-available Rohit Sharma has been added to the Indian Test side for the Test series in Australia. Rohit was initially not picked for the Test series owing to his hamstring injury, for which the BCCI’s medical team had issued a warning that the cricketer was taking risk of a major injury if he was to push for an early comeback on the field. 

While the BCCI announced that Rohit will return to the Test side in a move that will bolster the team’s batting particularly in absence of Kohli, the limited-overs vice-captain has been excused from the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) series in Australia. 

“At the selection committee meeting held on October 26th, 2020, Mr Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide,”

The BCCI said in a media release,

Meanwhile, the Indian cricket board also informed that veteran pacer Ishant Sharma, who had bowed out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 from the Delhi Capitals’ side due to an injury, is expected to take part in the Test series against Australia.

“The senior Indian fast bowler has been undergoing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness, he will be added to India’s Test squad,”

the release added. 

India also suffered a serious blow in form of their wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha—who played in the IPL 2020 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“The senior Indian wicket-keeper sustained injuries to both his hamstrings during his side’s IPL game on 3rd November. A call on his availability will be taken later,”

the BCCI said. 

Among the other changes announced on Monday, left-arm uncapped seam bowler T Natarajan has been named as a replacement of the uncapped mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the Indian T20I side, and wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson has been added in the ODI side for the Australia tour.