Ahead of IND vs SA 1st Test in Centurion, scheduled from December 26, there’s positive news for Team India as their key player Virat Kohli has rejoined the squad after initially leaving for a pre-planned trip to London. Previous reports suggesting an emergency prompting Kohli’s departure from South Africa have now clarified that his absence was due to a pre-planned trip to London, which was communicated in advance to the team management.
Reportedly, Virat Kohli was indeed in London during this period, and these arrangements had been prearranged and communicated beforehand to the team management. According to a senior BCCI official cited in the report by News18, Kohli’s absence from the intra-squad practice matches was due to his pre-planned trip to London before the commencement of the first
“Virat Kohli wasn’t going to play that game. The team management was aware of his plan and schedule, and it isn’t something which happened overnight or due to a family emergency. Look at the player in question, it’s Virat Kohli. He is very well planned when it comes to these things and his London trip was communicated and planned well in advance,” a senior BCCI official said reportedly.
The senior BCCI official also mentioned, “Kohli left India for South Africa on December 15. Had good 3-4 training sessions before he went to London on December 19. For the next few days, he was in London and has now linked up with the Test squad and will in all likelihood train in Centurion tomorrow,” as per the News18 report.
Regarding South Africa’s preparations, despite concerns about the fitness of key pacers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, South Africa’s head coach, Shukri Conrad, remains optimistic. Both Rabada and Ngidi were seen training vigorously ahead of the Boxing Day Test, despite having missed match practice due to injuries. Conrad expressed faith in their readiness and freshness for the upcoming game. “They will be fresh and firing (Rabada and Ngidi). I am always a firm believer of freshness,” said Conrad.
Kohli’s return to the Indian side ahead of this crucial Test series in South Africa is a significant boost for India, who’ve faced multiple setbacks with players like Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, and Ishan Kishan being unavailable due to various reasons. The team will look to his leadership to bolster their confidence in pursuit of making history with a Test series win in South Africa.