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Virat Kohli’s absence will hurt India and help Australia in the series decider

India will surely miss Virat Kohli's presence if he doesn't play in the decisive fourth Test in Dharamsala starting Saturday.

Written by Rohit Mundayur | New Delhi | Updated: March 24, 2017 4:15:15 pm
india vs australia, ind vs aus, virat kohli, india vs australia 4th test, ind vs aus 4th test, india vs australia fourth test, kohli injury, virat kohli injury, ind vs aus fourth test, cricket news, cricket Virat Kohli’s aggressive style of captaincy has seen India go to the top of the ICC Test rankings and the team have remained there ever since. (Source: AP)

India face the possibility of having to play without Virat Kohli for the first time since he became the captain of the team in the longest format of the game in 2014. Since then, he has been arguably India’s best batsman and has scored a mind boggling four double centuries in consecutive series with three coming in one calendar year. His aggressive style of captaincy has also seen India go to the top of the ICC Test rankings and the team have remained there ever since.

Kohli injured his right shoulder while fielding in the third Test held at Ranchi. He sat out the rest of the day but did come out to bat during India’s innings and also fielded for Australia’s second innings during the final two days. In this series against Kohli may have experienced a lean run with the bat – he has scored just 45 runs in five innings so far – but there is no arguing the fact that his presence on the field and the dressing makes a difference for India.

On-field aggression is not something that India were particularly known for and that is exactly what Kohli seems to have brought into the side. It’s evident from the fact that in this series, India have replied every taunt and jibe that Australia have thrown at them and have directed a few at the visitors themselves. As a batsman, Kohli is known for his fearless nature and he has brought that into his captaincy as well. He showed that he doesn’t flinch from calling a spade a spade when he called out Steve Smith and the Australians’ habit of looking to their dressing room whenever they went for the review.

Ajinky Rahane, on the other hand, is almost the polar opposite of Kohli in this way. In the team, he may be the perfect spoil for Kohli, just as how the latter may have been for MS Dhoni. While Kohli is the man who celebrates every wicket as if it has won India the match, the most you can get from Rahane is a smile and a fist pump. India probably won’t miss Virat Kohli the batsman if he doesn’t play at Dharamsala as he hasn’t contributed to scoreline as much as he normally does. But, in a series where the off field battles have often been just as interesting as the on-field ones, India could use Kohli presence on the field in a match that will decide who wins the series.

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