Virat Kohli rejoins Indian squad for 1st Test after London trip - Reports

Kohli will be vital to India
Kohli will be vital to India's chances to record a maiden Test series win in South Africa

Star batter Virat Kohli has reportedly rejoined the Indian squad to prepare for the first Test against South Africa, starting in Centurion on December 26. There were reports a day earlier that the 35-year-old had flown back home due to a family emergency.

However, Kohli was in London for a few days, a trip that was reportedly not sudden and not due to a family emergency. As recently reported by News18, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the team management were aware of Kohli’s travel plans and his missing the inter-squad game from December 20 to December 22.

A senior BCCI official said, as quoted by News18:

"Virat Kohli wasn’t going to play that game. The team management was aware of his plan and schedule, and it isn’t something which happened overnight or due to a family emergency. Look at the player in question, it’s Virat Kohli. He is very well planned when it comes to these things and his London trip was communicated and planned well in advance."

The official added:

"Kohli left India for South Africa on December 15. Had good 3-4 training sessions before he went to London on December 19. For the next few days, he was in London and has now linked up with the Test squad and will in all likelihood train in Centurion tomorrow."

Kohli was last seen in action during India's heartbreaking 2023 World Cup final defeat against Australia at Ahmedabad. The champion batter was rested for the white-ball leg of the South African tour before joining the Test squad.

Virat Kohli and co. have a daunting task in Test series in South Africa

India has never managed to upstage the Proteas in an away Test series.
India has never managed to upstage the Proteas in an away Test series.

Team India has a daunting task ahead as they look to conquer their final frontier and win a maiden Test series in South Africa.

While they have come close on the previous few occasions, the hosts remain undefeated in a home series against the Asian giants. To further worsen their chances, India will be without Mohammed Shami, Ishan Kishan, and Ruturaj Gaikwad for the two-Test series.

India was on the verge of pulling off their first series win with a 1-0 lead and being well-placed in the second Test in their 2021/22 tour of South Africa. However, the soon-to-retire Dean Elgar played a sublime fourth-innings knock of 96* in the second Test at Johannesburg to continue India's wait as the hosts came back and won 2-1.

Overall, South Africa have won 12 of 23 Tests at home against India while losing only four games, with the remaining seven matches ending in a draw. Following the first Test at Centurion, India and South Africa will battle in the second and final game at Cape Town, starting January 3.

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