Virat Kohli has communicated to the BCCI his decision to step away from white-ball cricket indefinitely, making him unavailable for India’s upcoming white-ball matches in South Africa and the T20I series against Afghanistan in January. According to a source from the BCCI, Kohli has opted to focus on red-ball cricket, confirming his participation only in the two Tests in South Africa while skipping the ODIs and T20Is.
The source mentioned, “He (Kohli) has informed the BCCI and selectors that he needs a break from white-ball cricket and will get back to them about when he wants to play white-ball cricket next. At the moment, he has informed the BCCI that he will be playing red-ball cricket, making him available for selection for the two Test matches in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, there is uncertainty surrounding India captain Rohit Sharma’s availability for the white-ball leg of the South Africa tour. Both Rohit and Kohli have been absent from T20 cricket since the 2022 T20 World Cup, sparking discussions about their potential return with the upcoming T20 World Cup in June. Given Rohit’s standout performance with the bat in the World Cup and his leadership skills, there have been considerations for him to lead India in the T20 World Cup, just six months away.
However, the current outlook suggests that Rohit and Kohli may not feature in T20Is anymore, and their future in ODIs appears uncertain. India’s white-ball schedule includes three T20Is, followed by as many ODIs and a two-match Test series in South Africa. While Rohit and Kohli are likely to participate in the Test matches, their involvement in white-ball cricket beyond that seems doubtful. The next white-ball series on the horizon is a three-match home T20I series against Afghanistan, with a gap until England’s five-Test tour to India, followed by the IPL and the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.
With India having six T20Is and three ODIs scheduled until June this year, skipping these matches may not significantly impact Kohli and Rohit. A more informed decision about their white-ball future is anticipated after the T20 World Cup when India is set to travel to Sri Lanka for a T20I and ODI series.
Currently, both Kohli and Rohit are enjoying a holiday in the UK with their families. The announcement of India’s squads for the South Africa tour by the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee is expected within this week.