Virat Kohli’s absence from the India squad for undisclosed “personal reasons” will extend to the remaining three Tests against England.
The series is level at 1-1 after two matches that the star batsman also missed, and will resume without him in Rajkot for the third Test starting on Thursday.
Both he and the BCCI have given scant details on the reasons for his absence.
“Virat Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons,” the BCCI said in a statement. “The board fully respects and supports Mr Kohli’s decision.”
The same explanation was given for Kohli being left out of the squad for the first two Tests, which saw him replaced by debutant Rajat Patidar.
Kohli, who amassed 765 runs in 11 ODI World Cup matches for runners-up India last year, missed the white-ball leg of the South African tour in 2023 and the opening T20I against Afghanistan at home earlier this year.
The 35-year-old remains the backbone of India’s batting with 8,848 runs including 29 centuries and an average of over 49 in 113 Tests.
Top order batsman Shreyas Iyer was another notable absence from the 17-man squad named for the remainder of the series by the board on Saturday.
Iyer, who was in the XI for the first two Tests but struggled to find his form in any of his four innings, had back surgery for a slipped disc last year.
ESPNCricinfo reported he had told team management that he suffered a flare-up of back spasms after the second Test in Visakhapatnam this month.
Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul were both included but their participation was “subject to fitness clearance from the BCCI medical team”, the board said.
England, led by Ben Stokes, won the opener to hand the hosts just their fourth loss at home since 2013 but Rohit Sharma’s team bounced back in the next match with a 106-run victory.
The series concludes with Tests in Ranchi starting on 23 February and Dharamsala from 7 March.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), K.S. Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images