It has been learned that the National Selection Committee, headed by Chetan Sharma, will allow India’s No.1 hitter to sit out the game after spending a lot of time in the bio-bubble over the past two months.
Kohli has been through the worst phase of his career as he hasn’t scored a century in almost three years.
“Virat Kohli will probably be rested for the South African series. He has played a lot of cricket and has been in the bubble for a long time,” a senior BCCI official familiar with the development told PTI on condition of anonymity.
“It’s a political decision for Kohli and other senior players to give them periodic breaks from time to time.”
South Africa are due to play a five-match Twenty20 series in India from June 9-19. Delhi, Cuttack, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot and Bengaluru will host the matches.
India will visit the UK in June-July. They will first play a T20 series against Ireland, then face England in a test (5th test of the 2021 series) and six white ball matches.
Kohli is going through one of his worst IPL seasons for RCB. He has as many as three golden ducks (first ball returns) to his name with just one score over 50 to show in a below-par 216-point contribution.
In 12 games, he is averaging 19.63 and a dismal strike rate of 111.34.
There are times when a break away from the bump and grind and constant scrutiny helps a player find his groove and Kohli might just need it for himself.
Former head coach Ravi Shastri has already said loud and clear that Kohli needs an extended break from the game.
“Whether it’s two months or a month and a half, whether it’s after England or before England. He needs a break because he has 6-7 years of cricket left and you don’t want to lose it with a fried brain,” Shastri previously said.
Ian Bishop had recently pointed out that Kohli had been fired in various ways by different types of bowlers and it was worrying.
The selection committee will meet towards the end of the IPL and the series against the Proteas will set in motion the Indian team’s preparations for the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia in October-November.
“Even skipper Rohit Sharma would need adequate rest with so much cricket being played. Some of the others include KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant all of whom will need rest from time to time,” the official said.
There remains a possibility that some of the players will be rested after the first two or three games of the SA series.
While most of the main team players will be available, rookies like Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh, who have been impressive in the IPL, will also be in contention for the national side.
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