Virat Kohli will not lead India in Birmingham Test if Rohit Sharma misses out: Childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma

Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma on Monday said he doesn’t see the star batter leading India again in Tests even if Rohit Sharma is unavailable to lead the team in the rescheduled fifth Test against England, starting July 1.

While stressing that he is not sure of what the selectors or the Board of Control of Cricket in India is thinking in case Rohit Sharma is not able to be fit in time for the Birmingham Test, Rajkumar Sharma said he is not hopeful of Kohli taking up the role of stand-in captain.

Rohit Sharma is doubtful for the rescheduled fifth Test, a spillover from last year’s series, after the India captain tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. The BCCI on Monday announced that Mayak Agarwal was added to the Test squad as a cover for Rohit.

Mayank left for the UK on Monday and is expected to link up with the Test squad later in the day. India have called up Mayank as they are short on opening options due to doubts over Rohit’s participation and injured KL Rahul’s unavailability.

“He was not sacked or removed, he himself left the captaincy. So, I don’t think I will see him leading again. I’m not very sure what the selectors or the BCCI will decide? Virat is a team-man and wants India to do well and contribute to the team, which I think he’s doing very well,” Rajkumar Sharma was quoted as saying by IANS news agency.

Notably, Virat Kohli led India to a 2-1 lead in England last year. The former captain quit from the top job earlier this year after India lost a 3-match series 2-1 in South Africa. Rohit was named the Test captain and the star opener was set to lead the country for the first time in an overseas Test.

‘HE IS NOT UNDER PRESSURE’

Meanwhile, Rajkumar Sharma brushed aside talks suggesting that Virat Kohli is under pressure due to his prolonged drought for a hundred in international cricket, saying that the former Test captain is still contributing heavily to the team’s success.

Virat Kohli has not scored a hundred in international cricket since his century against Bangladesh in the day-night Test in Kolkata in 2019.

Kohli had scored only 536 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 28.21 in 2021 and has managed 189, including a fifty, in 3 Tests this year.

Kohli warmed up to the Birmingham Test with a solid show in the 4-day practice match against Leicestershire county club, hitting a second-innings fifty as he looked confident while bringing out his trademark shots.

“No, he is not at all under pressure. Contributing to the team and India’s victory is more important for him rather than getting his hundred. He never goes after records. So, as long as he’s doing well and is contributing well with the bat, he is not worried about his personal milestone,” he added.

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