Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli Photograph:( AFP )
Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the three Tests versus South Africa. In his absence, former SA spinner feels Virat Kohli will feel the pressure both as captain and batsman.
India is gearing up for the three-match Test series opener versus South Africa, which gets underway on December 26 in Centurion. Ahead of the series, Virat Kohli-led Indian team have had several injury concerns with the likes of Rohit Sharma (newly-appointed vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel being ruled out.
Thus, Kohli & Co. will have to be on their toes to get the better of Dean Elgar & Co. and attain their first-ever Test series win on South African soil. For that to happen, India will have to start well and hope for Kohli to deliver with the bat. In 2021, the right-hander hasn't been at his best and has amassed only 483 runs in 10 innings, at 28.43, with four half-centuries.
With no Rohit -- who is India's leading run-getter in whites in 2021 -- former South Africa spinner Omar Henry feels there will be pressure on Kohli both as batter and captain. "Rohit not being there is a big factor. He's been their most prolific of run-getters for a while, so make no mistake, there will be pressure on Kohli. He will be tested as a batsman and captain,” Henry, who is also an ex-chief selector," told Mid-Day in an interview.
Henry still feels India have it in them to beat SA in their own backyard despite the handful of wins (3) in the purest format, overall, in the rainbow nation. "I believe India have a window to break that losing sequence if they utilise their pace department well," he added.
On the other hand, the former cricketer also opined on the ODI captaincy row in Indian cricket, which erupted early this month after BCCI sacked Kohli as the ODI captain and appointed Rohit as the new limited-overs skipper. In this regard, he said, "(Rahul) Dravid the coach and the leader in Kohli should able to able to put all of that behind and concentrate on this important assignment. You are playing for your country. Nothing is bigger and personal issues have to come second."
During India's last Test series in the African nation, Kohli-led team were competitive right throughout but lost the three Tests 2-1 versus the Faf du Plessis-led hosts. Will the scoreline be in India's favour this time around? Only time will tell...