India batter Virat Kohli will miss his side’s first two Test matches against England due to personal reasons, the country’s cricket board confirms.
The former national team captain missed the opening game of the recent T20 series with Afghanistan, citing the same reason, but returned for the second and third matches.
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Kohli, 35, has been a regular fixture for India’s Test side, and the last time he missed a game was in January 2022 when he was ruled out of the second match of the series against South Africa in Johannesburg because of an injury.
The five-match series against England begins in Hyderabad on Thursday while the third Test starts on February 15 in Rajkot.
“Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasised that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention,” the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a statement on Monday.
“The BCCI respects his decision and the board and team management has extended its support to the star batter.
“The BCCI requests the media and fans to respect Kohli’s privacy during this time and refrain from speculating on the nature of his personal reasons.”
The board said a replacement for Kohli will be added to the squad for the first two matches.
Before the T20 series against Afghanistan, Kohli had been playing only Test cricket for India since the Cricket World Cup final defeat by Australia in December to manage his workload.
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Virat Kohli withdraws from first two Tests against England citing personal reasons.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 22, 2024