IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli likely to miss next two Tests against England

Virat Kohli announced a sudden withdrawal due to 'personal reasons' just three days before the series opener. The BCCI has maintained silence on his situation beyond the initial statement acknowledging his absence.

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Courtesy: ANI

Virat Kohli's absence from the India-England Test series is set to extend as the star batsman is likely to miss the upcoming third and fourth Tests in Rajkot and Ranchi, respectively. According to media reports, his availability for the fifth Test in Dharamsala remains uncertain. The absence of Kohli adds another complexity to the selection headaches for the Indian team management.

Earlier, Kohli announced a sudden withdrawal due to 'personal reasons' just three days before the series opener. The BCCI has maintained silence on his situation beyond the initial statement acknowledging his absence.

Uncertainty over KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja 

While Mohammed Siraj is confirmed to return after being rested in the second Test, the availability of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja hangs in the balance. Both suffered injuries during the series, with Rahul battling a quad strain and Jadeja a hamstring niggle. They are currently undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA in Bangalore, with a final report on their fitness yet to be received. Despite the uncertainty, India remains cautiously optimistic about having at least one of them available for the Rajkot Test, starting February 23rd.

Rahul's return would be a significant boost to the middle order. He impressed in the series opener, filling the void left by Virat Kohli's absence. 

Siraj to replace Bumrah 

The one confirmed change for Rajkot is the return of pace spearhead Mohammed Siraj. Rested for workload management in the second Test, Siraj's return adds firepower to a bowling attack that relied heavily on the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah in Visakhapatnam. With Bumrah's workload a constant concern for the team management, Siraj's presence offers crucial support and depth to the bowling unit.