‘Such moments don’t come again’: Shastri backs Kohli’s paternity leave call

Written by Abhishek Patil

Virat Kohli’s absence in the last three Tests against Australia is currently the biggest talking point as Team India gears up for the series Down Under, which begins from November 27 in Sydney. India will first play a 3-match ODI series followed by as many T20Is. And then the 4-match Test series which will start from December 17 in Adelaide.

Captain Kohli will fly back home after leading the side in the first Test which, is a day-night affair, for the birth of his first child. While many experts have opposed Kohli’s return amid the Test series, head-coach Ravi Shastri has backed the captain’s decision to return for the birth of his first child.

“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,” Shastri told ABC Sport.

Shastri agreed to the fact that the Indian captain has been the ‘driving force’ behind the team’s success over the years. However, he asserted that Kohli’s absence will generate opportunity the ‘young guys.

“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 a lot of young guys in the side and it’s an opportunity for them,” he said.

Shastri also expressed his apprehensions about senior Ishant Sharma’s participation in the upcoming Test series if he doesn’t reach Australia in the next few days.

Ishant sustained a side strain during the IPL 2020 and is currently at the NCA undergoing rehabilitation. But the BCCI is yet to announce when he would reach Australia.

Considering the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement, it is clear that he is likely to miss the first warm-up game against Australia A, at Drummoyne Oval from December 6-8, if he doesn’t depart by Monday.

“You don’t really know how quickly he’ll be available to fly out. As I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it’s very difficult,” said Shastri.

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Abhishek Patil