Kohli leaves 'Dustin Martin' void: Langer

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

West Coast board member Justin Langer's mind drifts to AFL when asked what effect Virat Kohli's absence will have during three of this summer's four Tests.

"That's like taking Dustin Martin out of Richmond isn't it? Of course it'll have an impact," Langer said.

"It's like any team taking their best player out ... but they're a very, very good team. We cannot get complacent with or without Virat."

The analogy fits.

Martin is the AFL's only ever three-time Norm Smith medallist (awarded to best on ground in the grand final), has a knack of dragging teammates to victory and regularly saves his best for pressure-laden big moments.

And, like Kohli, the Tigers great has been fined for flipping the bird during a game.

But Martin is worshipped by Richmond's 100,420 members, whereas most of India's 1.3 billion residents follow Kohli's movements with even more fervour.

Kohli and Bollywood superstar wife Anushka Sharma are India's ultimate power couple, who will welcome their first child in January.

Kohli has confirmed he will return home for the birth after captaining India in the first Test, with Australia's quarantine restrictions meaning he will miss the rest of the tour.

The decision, which undoubtedly hurts India's chances of winning the series, has earned India's skipper nothing but widespread admiration.

"If I was giving advice to any of my players, I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children. It's one of the great things you'll ever do," Langer said.

"Virat's a human being and I respect his decision.

"I've got so much respect for him.

"It's the same with Kane Richardson. He sacrificed the IPL so that he can be at the birth of his son, a couple of days ago."

Kohli's squad and Australia's Indian Premier League stars have arrived in Sydney and started their fortnight of quarantine, with NSW government exemptions allowing them to train.

However, Australia's limited-overs squad won't train together before the series-opening ODI on November 27.

"It's a disadvantage, absolutely. But we are making sacrifices," Langer said.

"It will be like a reunion on the day of the first ODI and it's going to be good fun."