Kohli to miss first T20 against Afghanistan due to personal reasons

Coach Rahul Dravid confirmed that the batting stalwart will feature in the last two matches of the series

By ANI

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Virat Kohli. Photo: PTI file
Virat Kohli. Photo: PTI file

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 7:22 PM

India's star batter Virat Kohli, who is making a comeback to T20I setup for the first time since the end of the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2022, will miss the opener of the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan.

The T20I series between India and Afghanistan will kick off on January 11 in Mohali; the second game will be played on January 14 in Indore; and the series will conclude on January 17 in Bengaluru.

Head coach Rahul Dravid in the pre-match press conference confirmed that Kohli will miss the opener due to personal reasons and stated that Yashasvi Jaiswal will open for India with captain Rohit Sharma. Alongside India's batting stalwart, Rohit also made a return to the squad and will lead the side in the opening match in Mohali.

However, the head coach confirmed that the batting stalwart will feature in the last two matches of the T20I series.

India's head coach revealed that while India would only play one T20I series before the T20 World Cup in 2024, the success of players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will factor into the team selection for the tournament.

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Dravid went on to clarify why Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were not selected for the series against Afghanistan.

The head coach stated that Kishan had sought a vacation owing to mental tiredness during the South Africa tour, and the team management agreed to accommodate him. Dravid acknowledged that Kishan has not made himself available for selection since then and would return to domestic cricket when he is ready.

"No, absolutely not (disciplinary issue). Ishan Kishan was not available for selection. Ishan requested a break, which we agreed on in South Africa. We supported it. He has not yet made himself available. I don't think he has made himself available as yet. When he is available, he will play domestic cricket and make himself available for selection," Dravid told the reporters in the pre-series press conference.

The Afghanistan series is India's last bilateral T20I series before the T20 World Cup, which starts on June 1. Rohit will lead the side in the T20Is while Afghanistan will be led by Ibrahim Zadran, with Rashid Khan ruled out of the series as he recovers after his ankle surgery.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar.

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