New Delhi: India captain Virat Kohli was on Monday granted paternity leave by the BCCI after the first Test against Australia next month, while his limited-overs' deputy Rohit Sharma was added to the red-ball squad after being initially left out due to a hamstring injury.
Kohli will miss three Test matches in Australia to be with his actor wife Anushka Sharma as the couple welcomes its first child in early January.
"…Mr Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide," Board secretary Jay Shah stated in a press release.
The centrally-contracted players are eligible for paternity leave and Rohit had availed it during the 2018 tour of Australia.
India's tour of Australia comprises three ODIs, as many T20 Internationals and four Tests. The series begins November 27. The Tests start on December 17 in Adelaide.
Kohli will miss the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne (December 26-30), New Year's Test in Sydney (January 7-11) and the final game at the Gabba (January 15-19).
Cricket Australia, which is already facing a lot of heat from the broadcasters Seven Network, would be worried as the Indian captain is a massive draw and his absence could severely impact the advertisement market.
Shah also gave an update on Rohit's fitness and said he will miss the ODI and T20 series.
"The BCCI Medical Team has been monitoring Rohit Sharma's fitness and has briefed All-India Senior Selection Committee on the same. In consultation with Sharma, it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness and he has been included in India's Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy."
In Rohit's case, he will be back in India after the IPL ends on Tuesday and undergo his rehab along with pacer Ishant Sharma. He separately board a flight in the last week of November.
The BCCI also informed that Ishant will be added to the Test squad subject to fitness
"The senior Indian fast bowler (Ishant) has been undergoing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness, he will be added to India's Test squad," Shah stated. Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who had allegedly hid his shoulder injury, has been ruled out of the T20 Internationals.
"The spinner has been ruled out of the T20I series owing to a shoulder injury. The selectors have named T Natarajan as a replacement," the BCCI release stated.
Chakravarthy didn't intimate the BCCI that he had a labrum tear and continued playing for Kolkata Knight Riders. He will now have to go for a surgery.
It is learnt that hiding injury in his very first national call-up hasn't gone down well either with the BCCI's medical team or with the national selection committee.
The committee, it is learnt, will have a serious rethink about including players, who are not transparent about the status of their injuries.
Natarajan, who has 16 wickets and bowled yorkers at will, was among the net bowlers. However, Kamlesh Nagarkoti will not go to Australia as BCCI will monitor his workload at the NCA.
Sanju Samson, who was earlier only included in the T20 squad, has been added to the ODI line-up as an additional keeper.
However, there was some bad news for Wriddhiman Saha, who has now injured both his right and left hamstring.
"The senior Indian wicket-keeper sustained injuries to both his hamstrings during his side's IPL game on 3rd November. A call on his availability will be taken later," Shah added.
There is no clarity on whether Saha, who is currently in the Team India bubble, will travel to Australia on Wednesday with the rest of the squad or come back to India and do his extensive rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy. The revised squads are as below:
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper).
Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj.