Dravid drops honest reaction after Kohli opts out of first two England Tests | Cricket

There is no denying that Rohit Sharma’s Team India will badly miss the services of batting mainstay Virat Kohli in the first two Tests of the five-match series against England. After returning to the shortest format in the Afghanistan series, Kohli opted to pull out of the first two England Tests for personal reasons. With the opening Test of the five-match series starting from Thursday in Hyderabad, the Rahul Dravid-coached side will soon name Kohli’s replacement.

India’s Virat Kohli with head coach Rahul Dravid during a practice session (PTI)

Confirming Kohli’s departure from the Indian squad, the Board of Control for Cricket in India urged the fans and media to refrain from speculating about the forced break of the former India skipper in the lead-up to the Test series opener. Speaking at the traditional press conference ahead of the 1st Test between India and England, head coach Dravid admitted that Kohli’s presence was a huge boost to the Indian side.

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‘He’s a phenomenal player’: Dravid on Kohli

“I think you know any team will miss the quality of a player of the Virat. There’s no doubt about it. You know, he’s a phenomenal player. His record speaks for him. On the field, his presence is a huge boost to the side. But having said that, I think, it just presents another opportunity for somebody else to be able to step up and to be able to put in some performances,” Dravid told reporters in Hyderabad.

Former India skipper Kohli smashed 765 runs in 11 games at the ICC World Cup last year. Kohli-starrer Team India made it to the final of the ICC event. After a successful World Cup, Kohli was rested for the entire white-ball series against hosts South Africa. Kohli made his return to international cricket by leading India’s batting charge against the Proteas in the two-game Test series.

The 35-year-old finished the South Africa Test series as India’s leading run-getter in the Rainbow Nation. India have only named its squad for the first two Tests of the England series. Kohli-less India are also without speedster Mohammed Shami, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

BCCI extends support to Kohli

Earlier, BCCI secretary Jay Shah revealed that Kohli requested the apex cricket board to be withdrawn from the first two Tests of the England series. Kohli also discussed his decision with skipper Rohit and the team management. “The BCCI respects his decision and the Board and team management has extended its support to the star batter and is confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver commendable performances in the Test series,” the BCCI secretary said.

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