Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian opener and ex-skipper believe that current skipper Virat Kohli’s absence after the first game of the Border-Gavaskar series shouldn’t worry India much.
Virat Kohli will miss last three Tests to attend the birth of a first child with wife Anushka Sharma. He will, however, play the limited-overs series consisting of three ODIs and as many T20Is and the first Test of the four-match Test series.
Sunil Gavaskar: India Have Won Every Time Virat Kohli Was Absent
According to the former India opener, Virat Kohli’s absence might see the rest of the Indian cricket team players “raise their game” against the hosts in the last three Test matches.
“If you actually have a look, India have won every time Virat wasn’t there, be it the Dharamshala Test against Australia, the Afghanistan Test, Nidahas Trophy or the Asia Cup in 2018. Indian players do tend to raise their game when he is not around. They understand they have to make up for his absence,” Sunil Gavaskar told TOI on Friday.
Virat Kohli has been India’s leading run-scorer for the last few years as he averages above 50 in each of the three formats and his form has been pivotal in Indian team’s success especially in the longest format of the game.
Over the course of the four-Test matches against Australia in 2018-19, the last time India toured Australia, Virat Kohli scored 282 runs and played an important role in India’s historic maiden 2-1 triumph in Australian soil. Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain having led India to 33 wins.
Sunil Gavaskar Believes Ajinkya Rahane Will Be Benefitted By Captaincy
Undoubtedly, Virat Kohli is currently India’s most successful Test captain ahead of MS Dhoni meaning his departure will put Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy under the limelight. Ajinkya Rahane is one of the rare players to have a flawless captaincy record with a 100% win percentage for India having led India to two wins in two matches.
He last captained India against Afghanistan in 2018 and had also stepped up in 2016 in the 4th Test of a closely fought Australia’s tour of India.
But the fact that he hasn’t led in overseas matches and led in only two matches means it will be difficult to predict how he will fare out against the mighty Australians at their home. Sunil Gavaskar, though, trusts him for the job and believes that captaincy will help the Mumbaikar in his batting as well.
“It’s going to be tough for Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Both these players have to bat out of their skin. Captaincy will actually help Rahane. He will feel a lot more secure and in control of situations. The selection committee is clear about who should lead in Virat’s absence and he has done well as a Test captain,” Sunil Gavaskar said during an interaction arranged by Sony Network.
India will go head to head against the Australians in six limited-overs games starting on Friday, November 27th, followed by the first Test in Adelaide on 17th December.