Virat Kohli to miss T20I series opener against Afghanistan

In the lead-up to the much-anticipated T20I series against Afghanistan, India head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday confirmed that stylish batter Virat Kohli will miss the opening encounter due to personal reasons.

The series opener is scheduled to take place in Mohali on January 11. Still, Kohli, a stalwart of Indian cricket, will join the squad for the subsequent T20Is in Indore and Bengaluru on January 14 and 17, respectively.

Speaking of Rohit Sharma, he was not only included in the T20I squad but also bestowed with the captaincy role for the series against Afghanistan. The decision to appoint Rohit as the captain marked a strategic move as India aims to build momentum in the shortest format of the game.

The return of both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to T20I cricket follows weeks of speculation about their future in the format. Having last played a T20I together in November 2022 during the T20 World Cup semi-final in Adelaide, their focus shifted towards ODIs and Tests in the 50-over World Cup year of 2023.

Rohit, too, wasn’t present during the training session on the eve of the game, but Dravid confirmed that for now, the team management will stick to the combination of Rohit and Yashasvi Jaiswal as openers.

“When you have a squad and a team, you have that flexibility to do whatever is required if that is in the best interest of the team and if that gives you a chance to succeed. Nothing is closed, but we are certainly happy with what Jaiswal has done as an opener for us and that gives us the left and right combination at the top,” Dravid said.

However, the duo made themselves available for T20I selection ahead of the New Year’s series against Afghanistan, a move that caught the attention of chief selector Ajit Agarkar.

Notably, the absence of Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav due to injuries added another dimension to the T20I series. Both players had led the Indian T20I side in 2023 without Rohit Sharma. With Rohit back at the helm, India looks forward to a dynamic series against Afghanistan, aiming to set the stage for the T20 World Cup later in the year.


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