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Virat Kohli will not play the first T20 match against Afghanistan


Dravid said the former Indian captain Virat Kohli will be available for the next 2 matches. Meanwhile, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma will open the innings for India, the coach said.

Head coach Rahul Dravid said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday that Virat Kohli will not play in the first T20 match against Afghanistan due to personal reasons.

Virat Kohli last played in the shortest format in November 2022, with his last game being India’s semi-final loss during the T20 World Cup in Australia. The Indian batsman Virat Kohli concluded the competition as the top run-getter, amassing 296 runs at a remarkable average of 98.66.

Meanwhile, talking about the aggressive Rinku Singh and her prospects for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Dravid said, “Rinku has made a very good start in international cricket. He is quite adept at playing the finisher role, something we want from him. Along with the series against Afghanistan, IPL is also a platform for development for him. When it comes to selection for the World Cup, that will be done when the time comes. But obviously if a player performs well then he attracts the attention of the selectors.

The three-match contest against Afghanistan will be India’s last contest before the T20 World Cup in June, giving the team a clear idea of where it stands ahead of the ICC event in the US.

Talking about his preparations ahead of the World Cup, Dravid said, “There have been many ICC events in the last few years and many of them were back to back. So there hasn’t been a lot of time between these events, so at various stages over the last few years, when I’ve been here, we’ve had to prioritize certain formats and certain tournaments because of the amount of cricket being played. It is impossible for Virat Kohli and all other players to play all the time so we always have to prioritize what is important, especially for players playing all three formats. In this series too, people like Bumrah, Jadeja and Siraj missed the mark keeping in mind that there are next 5 test matches against England. So you have always been pulling off a little trick in the last 2 years.

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“Obviously for a large part of last year and after the last T20 World Cup, we had to prioritize the one-day World Cup. There are not many matches after the ODI World Cup in terms of T20 format. So this T20 World Cup is a little different from that perspective in the sense that there is not much time to prepare for it, so we will have to depend on the cricket we have and a little bit on the IPL as well. Virat Kohli and The boys will play T20 cricket along with IPL here. We may not get as many opportunities to play together so we just have to work around it and adapt,” he said.

The coach was also asked to shed light on the availability of Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, to which Dravid said, “Ishan Kishan was not available for selection. He requested for a sabbatical in South Africa to which we agreed. He has not made himself available for selection and when he does, I am sure he will play domestic cricket and make himself available for selection. In the case of Shreyas Iyer, there is no disciplinary reason for not including him. It’s just that he missed out because there were too many batsmen in the team. He also played T20 in South Africa. it’s unfortunate. He is a good player but it is not easy to make everyone out of the team and the playing XI. There were no disciplinary issues.

India will play Afghanistan in 3 T20 matches on January 11, 14 and 17 in Mohali, Indore and Bangalore respectively.

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After this they will go to Hyderabad to play the first match of the 5-match Test series against England starting on January 25. The second match will be held in Visakhapatnam from 2-6 February while the third match will be held in Rajkot from 15-19 February.

The fourth Test will be held in Ranchi from 23-27 February and the final Test match will be held in Dharamshala from 7-11 February. Virat Kohli

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