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Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant to skip third T20I against West Indies

Kohli and Pant will not be playing in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka beginning on February 24 in Lucknow followed by two more games at Dharamsala on February 26 and 27.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: February 19, 2022 1:01:28 pm
Indian batter Virat Kohli being greeted by Rishabh Pant after scoring fifty runs during 2nd T20 cricket match against West Indies, at Eden Garden in Kolkata. (PTI)

Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant have been given rest for the third T20 International against the West Indies scheduled in Kolkata on Sunday. The duo will not be playing in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka beginning on February 24 in Lucknow followed by two more games at Dharamsala on February 26 and 27. They will be getting bio bubble break and will join the team for the Test series.

Rishabh Pant, who was appointed vice-captain in the absence of KL Rahul for the ongoing T20 series against the West Indies, smashed a brisk half-century in the team’s win in the second game on Friday night.

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant half-century in the second T20I against West Indies. Virat Kohli’s last half-century in this format came at the T20 World Cup against Pakistan, where he had to delve into every ounce of his class to counter a marauding Shaheen Shah Afridi on a challenging Dubai pitch. With wickets falling at the other end, he didn’t have the leeway to go into attack mode.

A game against the West Indies doesn’t carry the pressure of an India-Pakistan fixture. The Eden Gardens pitch was excellent and the West Indies bowling pretty average. Kohli had the opportunity to cut loose. He rightly chose the fourth gear.

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His dismissal was an anti-climax. After playing so well, Kohli walked down to a Chase delivery, got beaten in the air and was bowled through the gate. A 41-ball 52, including seven fours and a six, was still very encouraging.

The Indian team for the Sri Lanka series will be picked later in the day.

Kohli and Pant, both will be back for the two matches against Sri Lanka in Mohali (March 4-8) and Bengaluru (March 12-16) respectively.

Test specialists like Mayank Agarwal, R Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari will all enter the bubble in Chandigarh at the end of the month along with Kohli and Pant.

The match at Mohali will be Kohli’s landmark 100th Test and the BCCI wants him to be fit and fresh for the momentous occasion.

Both Kohli and Pant have played most of the games from the start of the South Africa tour.

Kohli has so far played two Tests, 6 ODI and two T20 Internationals since the start of the away tour against South Africa. He had missed one Test match due to back spasm and played all the games since the third Test in South Africa.

Pant, on his part, played three Tests, six ODIs and two T20 Internationals and was also in need of a bubble break having constantly played post his two-Test break against New Zealand in early December.

“It’s never easy playing continuously with bubbles but when I started playing, this is what I wanted to do,” Pant said at the post-match presentation ceremony after winning the Man of the Match award on Friday.

Senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has a good chance of being Rohit Sharma’s deputy although the selectors may not name anyone.

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