Former England cricketer Michael Atherton has spoken about Virat Kohli’s absence for the next two Test series against India. He said the batter missing the series is like Tiger Woods missing the biggest golf tournament.
India will be without the services of Virat Kohli for the first two Tests against England. The series-leading batsman was unavailable for the first two games of the series, citing personal reasons. This caused many to express their disappointment as they were eager to see the batsman play.
Virat Kohli’s absence will leave a huge void in the Indian middle-order. With the amount of runs he has accumulated and the things he has done at number 4, there is no doubt that it will be a big mistake for the team. India would need his services because the first two matches will set the tone for the series.
However, India have some quality players in their ranks and are expected to do well. But it is fair to say that no one can match the quality of Virat Kohli. Therefore, his absence will be an added advantage for England ahead of the Test series.
Michael Atherton believes Virat Kohli is India’s biggest star and his absence will be huge. The English great feels that the batsman’s absence will affect the series as he is a charismatic cricketer. In his column for Sky Sports, he stated:
“With Kohli, I have compared his absence to Tiger Woods’ absence in a golf major, simply because of how big he is here. Fans in India are often drawn to his superstars and although he is no longer the captain, Kohli is still by far the biggest star in the game.
“I think the series is diminished by his absence. I find him a fascinating batsman to watch and a fascinating cricketer in general, even when he is on the field and not particularly contributing. He moves with so much energy that he is a very magnetic and charismatic cricketer.”
Thank God for that, we don’t have to bowl at Virat Kohli – Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton said that if Virat Kohli had played during his playing days, he would have breathed a sigh of relief if the batsman had missed the games. But he is conscious of the fact that the current England team is looking at the bigger picture and will not be bothered if the Indian star misses matches. He added:
“Now I don’t see these things with English eyes. About 20 years ago, when he was still playing, he would have thought, “Thank God, we don’t have to bowl at Kohli. I look at the bigger picture now. I wish he was playing and I’m sorry he’s not, although it makes it a lot easier for England.”
Michael Atherton believes that India’s batting line-up is not as strong as it used to be in earlier times. He added that the youngsters, including Shubman Gill, are yet to outgrow Test cricket. He explained:
“If you look at the Indians’ batting lineup, it’s not like the ‘Fab Five’ days of [Virender] Sehwag, [Sourav] Ganguli, [Rahul] Dravid, [Sachin] tendulkar, [VVS] Laxman.
“Without Kohli, you feel like there are two or three players who haven’t completely mastered Test cricket yet, either due to inexperience or, in Shubman Gill’s case, simply because it hasn’t happened to them yet.”
The first Test between India and England will be played from January 25 in Hyderabad.