India skipper Virat Kohli might skip the last two Tests of the highly-anticipated four-match series against Australia as he awaits the birth of his first child in January which could pave the way for an in-form K L Rahul’s entry into the middle-order.
Kohli’s actress wife Anushka Sharma is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in early January.
An official word on the skipper’s itinerary is not yet out but a BCCI source told PTI that Kohli can be expected to take paternity leave after the first two Tests of the series starting December 17.
“The BCCI has always believed that family is priority. In case, the skipper decides on availing paternity break, he will then be available only for the first two Test matches,” the senior source said on conditions of anonymity.
The four Test matches will be held in Adelaide (D/N, December 17-21), Melbourne (December 26-30), Sydney (January 7-11, 2021) and Brisbane (January 15-19).
The BCCI has, over the years, encouraged cricketers to take paternity breaks and it is no different for India’s captain and best batsman.
“Look, in normal times, he could have flown back for the birth of his first born, missed a Test and played the final one in Brisbane. However, if the 14-day quarantine is still in place, it will be difficult to go and come back again,” the source added.
There is a school of thought that KL Rahul’s presence in the Test squad could be doubly beneficial in such a scenario.
While Rohit Sharma (expected to be fully fit before the Test series starts), Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw are there as opening options, Kohli’s probable absence might warrant a bit more solidity in the middle-order.