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Why is Virat Kohli not playing in the second Test vs South Africa?

The news is surprising because head coach Rahul Dravid had mentioned that Virat Kohli was looking forward to his 100th Test match which would have been the last Test on the tour, had he played this game.

Ritesh Pathak Author

Updated - 3 January 2022 2:01 pm

virat kohli

The second Test between India and South Africa is underway at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. India won the toss and chose to bat first against but what came as a shocker for the Indian fans was the absence of their regular captain for the second game. Everything looked set until KL Rahul, the vice-captain of India for this series, walked out for the toss with Dean Elgar in place of Virat Kohli.

The commentators were also shocked at not seeing Kohli but KL Rahul in the middle for the toss. On being asked by one of the commentators about Kohli’s sudden omission from the first XI, Rahul revealed that the Indian Test captain is suffering from an Upper back spasm and thus has been kept out.

“Virat has an upper back spasm and the physios are on him. Hopefully, he will recover for the next Test,” explained Rahul. “Hanuma Vihari has been added as Virat Kohli’s replacement in the first XI,” he added.

Onus on openers to start well for India

The stand-in captain Rahul has decided to bat first after winning the toss and will feel the responsibility to give his team a good start with his partner Mayank Agarwal, as they did in the first Test. The Karnataka pair showed Test batting of the highest class to keep South Africa at bay right from the start.

KL Rahul, in particular, has been a revelation for India post his return to the Test side. After conquering England, Rahul scored his maiden Test century on South African soil and helped his team get a healthy first innings total in the first Test. He has walked into the second Test with an added responsibility and would want to make the most of this opportunity presented to him.

Meanwhile, South Africa have been handed a blow in form of Quinton de Kock’s sudden retirement from Test cricket. They have brought in Kyle Verreynne for QDK while Duanne Olivier has replaced Wiaan Mulder in the playing XI.

Apart from the ongoing Test series where India are already 1-0 up and have a chance at creating history by winning the Test series, the two teams also have to play 3 ODI matches, the squads of which were announced recently. Other than Rahul being named India’s skipper, it is Jasprit Bumrah who was trusted with the vice-captain’s role ahead of options like Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.

India’s ODI squad for South Africa series: KL Rahul (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan (wk), Y Chahal, R Ashwin, W Sundar, J Bumrah (vc), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj

South Africa’s ODI squad for home series against India: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj (vc), Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne

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