Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Former India captain and star batsman Virat Kohli has decided to withdraw from the first two Tests against England due to personal reasons. Kohli will miss the Hyderabad and the Visakhapatnam Tests of the five-match series.

Reacting over the development, former England captain Kevin Pietersen said when a player of Kohli’s stature requests for leave due to personal reasons, there should not be any discussions whatsoever on it.

“If a sportsman pulls out for personal reasons, RESPECT IT! End of!” Pietersen wrote on social media platform X (earlier known as Twitter).

Notably, Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee will name Kohli’s replacement soon. However, that is unlikely to happen before the series opener as all the frontrunners - Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh and Sarfaraz Khan - would be in action for the four-day match between India A and England Lions almost at the same time.

Notably, Kohli remains the backbone of the Indian batting with 8,848 runs including 29 centuries and an average of over 49 in 113 Tests.