Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli Credits: Twitter

Former England captain Mike Atherton has said the absence of Virat Kohli has diminished the importance of the ongoing five-match Test series between India and England.

India and England resumed their Test rivalry on Thursday (January 25) in Hyderabad without Virat Kohli. The former India skipper was a part of the squad for the first two Tests but decided to pull out, citing personal reasons. He has been replaced by uncapped Rajat Patidar in the India squad.

Virat Kohli is not the only player who has pulled out of the series due to personal reasons. England star Harry Brook has pulled out of the entire five-match series due to personal reasons. England have announced Dan Lawrence as the replacement for the star batsman.

Mike Atherton on Virat Kohli’s absence:

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Mike Atherton compared Virat Kohli’s absence to Tiger Woods missing the Majors in golf. He stated that even though the star batsman is no more the captain of the Indian team, he is still the biggest star. Atherton praised Kohli’s character and said that India will feel their former captain’s absence.

“Harry Brook and Virat Kohli are out due to personal reasons. Kohli’s absence is like Tiger Woods missing Majors. He is that big in that part of the world,” wrote the former England batsman.

“Although Virat is not Team India’s captain, he is still the biggest star and fans follow him to every part of the country. His absence has diminished the importance of the series.

“Virat is a charismatic and magnetic character. He is good with the bat and when he doesn’t contribute with the bat, he keeps the energy levels high on the field. India will feel his absence as there are a couple of players, who haven’t cracked Test cricket,” he added.

Missing Kohli will definitely be a big blow for Team India. India’s middle-order has looked fragile in recent times and Kohli’s absence will only add more pressure. The right-handed batsman was India’s highest run-scorer in the two-match Test series against South Africa that ended earlier this month. He was the only Indian player to score more than 150 runs in the series.

Meanwhile, the first Test between India and England got underway on Thursday (January 25) at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. England won the toss and opted to bat first. The visitors scored 105 for 3 in the first session.