IND vs AFG: Virat Kohli to miss first T20I due to personal reasons

Virat Kohli was set to make a return to T20Is after a 14-month absence through the highly-anticipated T20I series between India and Afghanistan, starting on January 11 in Mohali. However, India’s coach Rahul Dravid has confirmed that Kohli is set to miss the first fixture of the three-match series due to personal reasons.

Additionally, Dravid mentioned that Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma would take charge as the opening pair for India. Kohli had last played a T20I match back in November 2022 during India’s semi-final loss in the T20 World Cup held in Australia.

The imminent series against Afghanistan will hold significance as it will mark India’s final outing before the T20 World Cup scheduled for June. This series is expected to provide valuable insights into India’s standing before the prestigious ICC event in the Americas. However, uncertainties loom regarding Rohit Sharma’s captaincy continuity, as Hardik Pandya, India’s potential captain, has been grappling with injury concerns.

India-Afghanistan series kickstarts amidst injury woes grappling both teams

Notably, key players like Suryakumar Yadav and Ruturaj Gaikwad faced setbacks due to injuries. While Yadav, the top-ranked T20I batter, missed out due to a sports hernia, Gaikwad was unavailable for selection due to a fractured finger. Afghanistan, buoyed by their impressive performances, particularly in the ODI format, approaches the T20I series with confidence and determination and will be aiming to continue their success in a format that aligns well with their strengths.

The visitors faced a setback with the absence of their star spinner Rashid Khan. Khan underwent back surgery in November last year and is still in the recovery phase. However, despite this setback, Afghanistan entered the series in full strength after resolving contractual issues with players like Mujeeb Zadran, Naveen-Ul Haq, and Fazalhaq Farooqi, who recently proved their mettle during the ODI World Cup in India.