Australian coach Justin Langer praised Virat Kohli’s decision to head back to India after the first Test at Adelaide to attend the birth of his child. He admitted that Kohli's absence will hurt India, but guarded Australia against getting complacent.
The Indian skipper and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child in January. Kohli will return home after the Day/Night Test in Adelaide which is scheduled to end on December 21.
"Virat Kohli is probably the best player I've ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields," Langer said while speaking to reporters via video conference.
"I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I've got so much respect for him. I've also got respect for him in the sense that he's made this decision (to return to India).
"He's a human being like all of us... if I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you'll ever do," admitted the former Aussie opener.
Virat Kohli’s absence gives Aussies upper hand
Langer went on to add that without Virat Kohli, Australia’s chances of winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy have definitely improved.
"Of course it will have an impact (Kohli’s absence), but we also know that India beat us last time. They're a very, very good team, we cannot get complacent for a second with or without Virat Kohli," Langer added.
Kohli will captain India in three ODIs, three T20Is and the first Test, before heading back home. With the 14-day quarantine rule in place, there is no chance of Kohli returning later in the series.
Speaking about Australia’s 17-man squad for the Test series, Langer was all praise for young Will Pucovski.
"Pucovski's been amazing hasn't he, and that's what we're looking for. We want guys who are outside the team to bang so hard you can't ignore them. And the fact is Will's been so good, we can't ignore him,” said Langer.
However, he backed the struggling Joe Burns to open with David Warner.
"That said, I've also been consistent with the messaging since last summer, the last time we played Test cricket, that we loved the combination of Joe Burns and David Warner.
"They have a real synergy, they work well together, have chemistry. So at this point I'd say that will remain the same," the Aussie coach explained.
Published 13 Nov 2020, 10:51 IST