Steyn defends Kohli for prioritising his family as star batter sits out England series

South African legend believes Kohli has been invaluable for Indian cricket and has nothing more to prove


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India's Virat Kohli with his captain Rohit Sharma. - AFP
India's Virat Kohli with his captain Rohit Sharma. - AFP

Published: Sat 10 Feb 2024, 2:25 PM

South Africa's legendary seamer Dale Steyn has sprung to Virat Kohli's defence and and asserted that "family is your most important priority" as star India batter withdrew from the five-match series against England due to personal reasons.

Earlier, Kohli had withdrawn from the first two Tests also due to personal reasons. Now, with the squad for the final three Tests issued on Saturday morning by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), his absence has extended to the entire series.

Steyn stated that if Kohli is decided to sit back and spend some valuable time with the family then he does not see any problem in that.

"Family is your most important priority. Sorry, that's it," said the 40-year-old great.

|That's the end of the story right there. I've got three dogs and when one of them got sick, I was out of the IPL. I was jumping on the plane out of there to come back and see my dog.

An avid animal lover, Dale Steyn regularly posts photos and videos of time spent with his pets dogs. - Instagram
An avid animal lover, Dale Steyn regularly posts photos and videos of time spent with his pets dogs. - Instagram

"If Virat Kohli has decided to sit back home because he wants to be with his wife if he's going to have his second child, I don't see any problem with that," Steyn said during an interaction with media ahead of the SA20 final between Durban Super Giants and Sunrisers Eastern Cape.

Steyn further said that the 35-year-old Kohli has served the country for a long time now. He also said that the right-hand batter has done all the things that a cricketer can do for his country and questioned what else Virat has to do now to prove himself.

"He has been a servant of India for many years," said Steyn. "He's won a World Cup; he's captained with success. I don't know what more a man can do to prove himself in the cricketing world," the former pacer added.

Kohli was last in action during the T20I series against Afghanistan last month, in which he scored a quickfire 29 and a golden duck in two matches he played. India's batting talisman is set to miss the third, fourth and fifth Test matches against England in Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamshala.


"Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. The Board fully respects and supports Mr Kohli's decision," said a statement from the Indian Cricket Board issued on Saturday.

India's updated squad for last three Tests vs England:

Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep.

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