NEW DELHI: Star batsman Virat Kohli has been ruled out of the remaining three Tests of India’s five-match home series with England for personal reasons, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Saturday.
Kohli pulled out of the first two Tests, also for personal reasons. The Indian cricket board said in a statement that it fully respected and supported the player’s decision.
The 35-year-old former captain, who has scored 8,848 runs in 113 Tests, will miss an entire home series for the first time in his career.
England won the opening Test by 28 runs in Hyderabad before the hosts levelled the series at 1-1 with a 106-run victory at Visakhapatnam this week.
The third test will be held in Rajkot from Thursday, with matches to follow at Ranchi and Dharamsala.
Both Kohli and the BCCI have given scant details on the reasons for his absence.
“Virat Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons,” the BCCI said in a statement. “The Board fully respects and supports Mr. Kohli’s decision.”
The same explanation was given for Kohli being left out of the squad for the first two Tests, which saw him replaced by debutant Rajat Patidar.
Kohli, who amassed 765 runs in 11 ODI World Cup matches for runners-up India last year, missed the white-ball leg of the South African tour in 2023 and the opening T20 match against Afghanistan at home earlier this year.
The injured duo of batter K.L. Rahul and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the second match, were recalled to the 17-man squad announced by the BCCI for the final three Tests. They will only play subject to fitness clearance from the medical team.
Middle-order batsman was left out amid reports that he had suffered a back issue, while selectors resisted the temptation to rest in-form pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has had his share of time out due to injury last year.
Iyer, who was in the XI for the first two Tests but struggled to find his form in any of his four innings, had back surgery for a slipped disc last year.
ESPNCricinfo reported he had told team management that he suffered a flare-up of back spasms after the second Test.
Mohammed Siraj was also included in the squad after missing the last game, while fellow seamer Akash Deep earned his maiden Test call-up.
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel, KS Bharat, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2024