Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli’s absence will be a great advantage for Australia, as per their former head coach John Buchanan. Kohli will take part in only the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which gets underway from December 27. The Indian captain will be returning home after the opening game of the Test series to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child.
Kohli has been granted paternity leave by BCCI and will be cheering for Team India from home in the remainder of the series after playing the first Test which will be a day-night game in Adelaide.
“It will definitely be an advantage for Australia because Kohli was one of the dominant players in the last Test series the two teams played. Of course, Cheteshwar Pujara was the star of the series but Kohli’s presence in the middle was a huge factor in India winning that series. His presence on the field and in the dressing room will be missed by India,” Buchanan was quoted as saying by Times of India.
Kohli was the third-highest run-getter in the Test series when India defeated Australia 2-1 last year. He notched up 282 runs in four games and was only behind Cheteshwar Pujara (521) and Rishabh Pant (350) in the list of highest run-getters. His contributions with the bat would have played a crucial role in deciding India’s chances in the Test series.
Apart from Kohli’s absence, the return of David Warner and Steve Smith is another factor that puts Australia at advantage in the Test series. Buchanan feels the iconic duo’s return adds steel and gives a potent look to Australia’s batting line-up which had surrendered against Indian pacers last time around.
“When you look at the Australian batting line-up last time to what it will be now— there is a big change. Warner and Smith bring in a lot of experience to this line-up. Marnus Labuschange has been in great nick and so has the other batsmen, but Warner and Smith give the side a potent look,” said the former Australia head coach.
After the opening Test match in Adelaide, India and Australia will lock horns in the second Test in Melbourne followed by the third and fourth Test in Sydney and Brisbane respectively.