Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri is back with the national team for the first time in nine months as the much anticipated India’s tour of Australia kicks off. With Virat Kohli’s absence in three out of four Tests, becoming a major talking point in the last few weeks, Ravi Shastri has conceded to miss him. The tour gets underway on Friday with the first of the three ODIs in Sydney.
Virat Kohli will return home after the limited-overs leg and the first Test in Adelaide for the impending birth of his first child, due to happen in January. The 32-year old is currently the most experienced batsman in the side and with a proven record in Australia, he has made life difficult for the hosts in the last few years. The absence of Kohli would mean that the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will have to do the bulk of the scoring in the whites.
Moreover, the tourists will undoubtedly face a stiff and daunting challenge in the upcoming leg as compared to the 2018-19 series. Tim Paine’s men would be aiming at avenging their home series loss plus the addition of Steve Smith and David Warner apart from the emergence of Marnus Labuschagne might likely prove too much for the bowlers to do. Hence, Virat’s aggression and experience would have proved exceptionally significant.
I think it’s the right decision he’s taking: Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri supported Virat Kohli in taking the paternity leave, mentioning that such moments do not come along time and again. At the same time, the former Indian cricketer claimed that Kohli is the heart and soul of the Indian team, being the driving force behind their success in the last few years. However, he also sees it as a genuine opportunity for youngsters to step up.
“I think it’s the right decision he’s taking. 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 told ABC Sport.