Australia’s star batsman Steve Smith has lauded Virat Kohli’s decision to be with his family during the birth of his first child. Smith said Kohli’s absence will be a big loss for India in the much-anticipated Test series but pointed out that the India captain also has a life outside cricket.
Virat Kohli will be leading India in the Test series opener, a day-night fixture in Adelaide, starting December 17. However, Kohli will head back home on paternity leave and will miss the last 3 Tests of the crucial tour, which plays a key role in the World Test Championship cycle.
Virat Kohli will be with his wife and Bollywood actor, Anushka Sharma as the couple expects their first child in January.
“No doubt, it’s a big loss for India. Virat is a world-class player. I think you got to give him some credit, we all know how much he loves playing in Australia. But he is also a human being. He has got a life outside of cricket, a family that is starting,” Smith told the press on Thursday.
“Credit to him for wanting to be there for the birth of his first child. We know how much he loves playing in Australia, how good he is, but like I said, credit should go to him for wanting to be there.”
Under Virat Kohli, India lost the ODI series 2-1 but stormed back to registered a 2-1 win in the recently-concluded T20I series. It remains to be seen whether Kohli will lead India in the upcoming 3-day pink-ball practice match, starting December 11 against Australia A in Sydney.
In Virat Kohli’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian side in the last 3 Tests. Rahane hit form as he scored an unbeaten hundred in the first practice game at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith also pointed out that Ishant Sharma’s unavailability for the Test series will weaken the India bowling attack. Ishant was ruled out of the Test series after he picked up a side strain during Indian Premier League 2020.
“Ishant Sharma is probably a big loss for them at the start, if he’s not available… He’s obviously played a lot of cricket. Maybe without him, it may not be the strongest. I’m sure they would like him to play,” Smith said.