Virat Kohli returns home: With only four days left until the much-anticipated two-match Test series between India and South Africa commences at SuperSport Park in Centurion, the visiting team faced two significant setbacks on Friday afternoon.
Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, unable to recover from a finger injury, has been ruled out of the competition and subsequently released from the squad, as reported by Cricbuzz. Additionally, former India captain Virat Kohli had to skip the ongoing three-day intra-squad game in Pretoria to return home urgently.
While the report did not specify the nature of the emergency prompting Kohli’s departure, BCCI sources indicated that he is expected to rejoin the team in time for the opening game on December 26. Kohli had departed for Mumbai three days earlier, with team management permitting him to miss the intra-squad match.
On the other hand, Gaikwad sustained a finger injury during the second ODI against South Africa earlier in the week, leading to his exclusion from the third match. The BCCI statement before the ODI series decider in Paarl stated, “(He) hasn’t fully recovered from the blow he sustained to his ring finger while fielding in the second ODI. He remains under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team.”
Considering Gaikwad’s limited chances of recovering within four days for the opener, the team management, in consultation with the BCCI, opted to release him from the squad. India had earlier lost Mohammed Shami to an ankle injury, and despite being named in the squad, he remained under the watch of the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Ushan Kishan, who kept wickets in India’s Test series in West Indies, will also be absent from the contest against South Africa, as he had “requested the BCCI to be released from the upcoming Test series against South Africa citing personal reasons.”
The intra-squad game concluded on Friday, with red-ball regulars Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah impressing, along with Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur. Sarfaraz Khan and Abhimanyu Easwaran also delivered decent performances.
Source Hindustan Times.