Virat Kohli has sent the cricket world into a frenzy after the BCCI announced the India captain will return home after the first Test against Australia.
Kohli will only face Australia in one Test this summer after he was granted paternity leave to return home after the series opener in Adelaide.
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The Indian cricket board (BCCI) announced on Monday that Kohli will leave his team’s tour of Australia after the first Test to attend the birth of his first child.
“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 said in a statement.
“The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide.”
Kohli and India’s huge touring party will soon travel from Dubai to Sydney on a charter flight, sharing it with Australia's Indian Premier League stars.
The superstar batsman will play in the six limited-overs matches in Australia before he will return home to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth in early January.
The four-Test series will commence on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval, before the Boxing Day Test showdown at the MCG and matches at the SCG and the Gabba in the new year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Kohli recently added his voice to a chorus of concern about the sustainability of bubble life, suggesting the length of tours in the COVID-19 era should be considered.
“It does get difficult at times because it is repetitive,” Kohli said.
“Mentally, it can be taxing if this continues for this long a period at a consistent rate.
“It has to be broken down, it has to be based on how the individuals are feeling and I think that conversation should take place regularly.
“You want the players to be in the best state, mentally and physically.”
The announcement regarding Kohli sent the cricket world into meltdown, with some diehard Indian fans believing he should be putting his country first.
Respect for Kohli.
Family first every time.
— Dennis Pucovski (@DennisCricket_) November 9, 2020
Kohli is going to miss a few Tests and India goes into meltdown.
Australia played without Steve Smith for a whole year then went on to become number 1.
— Dennis Pucovski (@DennisCricket_) November 9, 2020
Now imagine if Kohli helps India take a 1-0 lead in Adelaide where he has scored tons of runs. And then India go on to lose the series. It's not just his runs, his presence in the dressing room also makes a big difference https://t.co/dUA7Gdo3gc
— Vishal Dikshit (@Vishal1686) November 9, 2020
This is not right.
— Gunjan Kwatra (@gunjan122) November 9, 2020
Being a professional athlete or sports person is probably one of the hardest things to do hey? Can’t really keep fans happy no matter what you do.... Indian having a go at Virat Kohli because he is set to miss a test match/series due to the birth of his first ever baby
— The Cricket Scholar🇿🇦 (@lue_balo) November 9, 2020
Sheer bad timing that Virat Kohli's baby is due just after the first test in Adelaide vs Australia.
Wish the baby was conceived just a month before so that Kohli only had to skip ODIs & T20Is because they are just another series but the Tests are part of World Test Championship.
— हर्ष श्रीवास्तव (@HarshOutlook) November 9, 2020
@imVkohli is returning to India after first test because he knows India is going down 4-0 and he doesn't want his captaincy record to take some beating. A guy who played for his team on the day of his father's funeral is now putting a baby over national duty. #Shame #ViratKohli
— Shubham Agrawal (@shubh_vachan) November 9, 2020
Woke up to the best news that @imVkohli has set a great example for all men, especially Indian. Dad’s have to be 50% of everything in welcoming a baby. You cannot, but you have to try and be as supportive as you can. Thank you for leading by example, Captain.
— UK (@motta_boss) November 9, 2020
I'm not at all suprised that people have issues with Kohli's paternity leave. My god, look at him supporting a woman. Just look at him sharing responsibilities and putting family above work. Waise tho ye sab aurat ka kaam hai na?
— Sunaina Patnaik (@sunaina_patnaik) November 9, 2020
India announces more changes to touring squad
Meanwhile, the BCCI detailed changes to the three squads across formats with the major news surrounding the inclusion of gun batsman Rohit Sharma to the Test squad.
Sharma and veteran Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha have both been hampered by hamstring injuries.
The 33-year-old Sharma has captained Mumbai Indians to the IPL final and there had been mixed messages regarding whether he will make the trip Down Under.
“It has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness and he has been included in India's Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy,” a BCCI statement said.
Sunrisers Hyderabad gloveman Saha missed the IPL finals and is in doubt, with a call on his availability yet to be made.
Senior quick Ishant Sharma has been undergoing rehab for an abdominal muscle tear and “once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness, he will be added to India's Test squad,” the BCCI said.
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