Virat Kohli, former Indian cricket captain, is expected to make a comeback for the first Test in Centurion on December 26 after a brief break due to a family emergency. Kohli left the ongoing intra-squad match in Pretoria on Tuesday, having received permission from the BCCI. He is anticipated to rejoin the team on Saturday, participating in pre-match practice sessions.
In related news, Ruturaj Gaikwad will miss the two-Test series due to a finger injury. Gaikwad will be released and is likely to return home to report to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Kohli’s whereabouts remain uncertain, with reports suggesting he might have traveled to Mumbai or London, possibly to meet his wife, Anushka Sharma. Speculation arises about a potential second child for the couple next year.
Notably, Kohli rarely misses Test matches, and the last instance was in Johannesburg in January 2022 due to back spasms. Gaikwad sustained his finger injury during the second ODI, and Abhimanyu Easwaran is on standby for him.
The opening pair for the Test series will be Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal, with Shubman Gill at No.3. The team, under the coaching staff led by Rahul Dravid, has been practicing in Pretoria.
KL Rahul and Mukesh Kumar will join the Test squad on Friday after the ODI series concludes. The Indian contingent will assemble in Johannesburg before heading to Centurion for the first Test at the Wanderers, followed by the second Test in Cape Town on January 3.
Shreyas Iyer, Rahul, and Jasprit Bumrah are set to return to Test cricket after recovering from injuries. Suryakumar Yadav, unfortunately, faces over six weeks on the sidelines due to an ankle injury sustained during the third T20I in Johannesburg. He will miss the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan at home.