India's cricket sensation, Virat Kohli, is poised to sit out the upcoming third and fourth Tests against England due to personal reasons, extending his absence from the ongoing series, as per a BCCI insider. Kohli's participation in the final match in Dharamsala from March 7-11 appears unlikely at this juncture, although the board is refraining from making definitive statements considering the match's distant schedule.
With the third Test scheduled in Rajkot from February 15-19, and the fourth in Ranchi from February 23-27, Kohli's absence poses a challenge for the Indian team. Speculations about his availability arose earlier when reports indicated that his participation hinged on personal circumstances.
Recent revelations by Kohli's close confidant, former South African skipper AB de Villiers, suggested that Kohli's absence is due to the imminent arrival of his second child. The BCCI, known for its supportive stance on players' family matters, maintains that Kohli's return to the squad will be entirely his decision.
Meanwhile, the workload management of Jasprit Bumrah, who delivered a match-winning performance in the second Test, remains a concern. With the series' outcome hanging in the balance, resting Bumrah for the third Test in Rajkot might be challenging, potentially affecting his availability for the subsequent game in Ranchi.
In terms of player reshuffles, KL Rahul is expected to make a comeback to the playing eleven, possibly displacing Rajat Patidar. Shreyas Iyer, following his impressive fielding display in Visakhapatnam, is likely to retain his spot.
While Ravindra Jadeja's recovery from a hamstring injury progresses positively, his participation in the Rajkot Test remains uncertain. Mohammed Siraj, having rested in the previous match for workload management, is set to return to the lineup, with Mukesh Kumar likely to make way.
The selection dilemma extends to the bowling composition, with questions surrounding whether to include additional pacers or opt for a batting all-rounder like Washington Sundar. Sundar's noteworthy performances in the previous home series against England make him a viable candidate for consideration.
(With Agency Inputs)