Virat Kohli to Miss Opening T20I Against Afghanistan; Rohit Sharma Takes Charge.

Virat Kohli to Miss first match due to personal reasons.

India’s much-anticipated T20I series against Afghanistan is set to kick off without Virat Kohli, as head coach Rahul Dravid announced the skipper’s absence from the opening match in Mohali due to personal reasons. Afghanistan, on the other hand, will miss the experience of Rashid Khan, who has been ruled out of the entire series.

virat kohli , india vs afghanistan T20 series.
virat kohli , india vs afghanistan T20 series. , image – getty image.

The series serves as the final phase of India’s preparations for the upcoming 2024 T20 World Cup. In the absence of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, who returns to T20Is after a hiatus since India’s 2022 World Cup semifinal exit, will lead the side. Despite Kohli’s unavailability, Rohit’s presence hints at a significant role for both in India’s plans for the marquee event later in the year.

Sanju Samson’s return to the squad is noteworthy, having secured his place with a maiden international ODI century in South Africa. The composition of India’s playing XI, especially the top-six, during the series will provide insights into the selectors’ and team management’s strategies for the World Cup. The pace-bowling department, missing some key names, offers fringe players a final chance to stake their claim for a spot in the World Cup squad.

For Afghanistan, the absence of Rashid Khan, ruled out due to ongoing rehabilitation from a lower-back surgery, is a significant setback. However, the return of players like Mujeeb ur Rahman and Naveen-ul-Haq, with IPL experience, provides a boost. Their participation had been in question, but a recent softening of the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s stance allowed their inclusion in the squad.

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While Rashid Khan’s absence is a blow, Afghanistan will look to build on the strengths of returning players and their resilience in the face of challenges. As the series unfolds, both teams aim to fine-tune their strategies and unearth potential stars ahead of the T20 World Cup.

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