Captain Virat Kohli will be missed after India’s first Test against Australia in their upcoming tour Down Under but it is also an opportunity for younger players in the team, according to head coach Ravi Shastri.
Kohli will be playing in the series-opening pink ball Test at the Adelaide Oval starting December 17 but will return to India after that for the birth of his first child.
“I think it’s the right decision he’s taking,” Shastri said on ABC Sport. “These moments don’t come time and time again. He has the opportunity, he’s going back, and I think he’ll be happier for that.”
“If you see where India have gone in the last five-six years, there’s no doubt in absolutely anyone’s mind that he’s the driving force and the man behind it (India’s success). So he obviously would be missed. But like I say, in adversity comes opportunity. There are lot of young guys in the side and it’s an opportunity for them.”
Shastri also said that Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will have to be on the flight to Australia in the “next four or five days” if they are to take part in the Test series against Australia.
Rohit is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recovering a hamstring injury and will be missing the limited overs leg of India’s tour of Australia which begins on November 27.
“He’s (Rohit) going through some tests at the NCA and they’re obviously going to decide [for] how long he needs to take a break,” Shastri said, speaking to ABC Sport.
“But things could get difficult if he’s asked to wait for too long, [because] then you’re talking of the quarantine again, which might make it really tough for even him to come just in time for the Test series.”
Shastri said that Rohit was never considered for the limited overs leg, which includes three ODIs and three T20Is before the first Test which will start on December 17 in Adelaide. A 14-day quarantine is the current norm in Australia amid Covid-19 and India are also expected to play a three-day warm-up match on December 11.
“He was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed the rest, because you can’t afford to be resting for too long,” Shastri said. “If you need to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you’ve got to be on the flight in the next three or four days. If you aren’t, then it’s going to be tough.”
“It’s a similar case to Rohit,” Shastri said of Ishant. “You don’t really know how quickly he’ll be available to fly out. Like I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it’s very difficult.”