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Virat Kohli keeps India in suspense; Shreyas Iyer called up for Dharamsala Test

Virat Kohli skipped nets due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the third Test in Ranchi. Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer has been called up as cover for final Test versus Australia cricket team in Dharamsala from Saturday

cricket Updated: Mar 24, 2017 09:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
India vs Australia,Virat Kohli,Shreyas Iyer
Virat Kohli, who had his injured shoulder heavily taped, had a lengthy chat with coach Anil Kumble during training session at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Thursday. The fourth India vs Australia starts from Saturday.(PTI)

India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, has been the driving force for his team’s continued success through a long home run, but could well be forced to sit out for arguably the hosts’ biggest match of the season, the final Test against Australia starting on Saturday.

Virat Kohli Kohli, who injured his right shoulder after landing heavily while stopping a boundary in the third Test in Ranchi, did come out to bat in that game. But it appears the injury is, as was initially feared, somewhat severe.

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On Thursday, Virat Kohli skipped batting during the India cricket team nets sessionat the HPCA stadium, which will make its debut as a Test venue. His shoulder in a kinesic tape, the Indian skipper was seen in discussion with the team’s Aussie physio, Patrick Farhart. Coach Anil Kumble joined in, looking grim, as Farhart examined the shoulder.

India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli with team physiotherapist Patrick Farhart during practice at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Thursday (PTI)

As of now, it is seen as a precautionary step as the Indian team management would want Kohli to get fit and lead the side from the front. He did take part in the warm-up sessions, but restricted himself to underarm throws during the fielding drills.

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The Indian team management has called up young Mumbai top-order batsman, Shreyas Iyer, as cover, and he will reach Dharamsala on Friday morning. Though, Kohli’s absence would be a blow, the team would not like him to aggravate the injury by playing.

Iyer, 22, has enjoyed a superb run in domestic cricket in the last two years. He was the leading Ranji Trophy run-getter in the 2014-15 season, and topped the aggregate last season for Mumbai when they finished runners-up to Gujarat.

The aggressive batsman also had a feel of the Aussie attack in the drawn warm-up tie versus India A in Mumbai before the series. Iyer scored his highest first-class score of 202 not out, off just 210 deliveries.

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Friday’s final training session for India will virtually be a fitness Test for Kohli. However, the Indian skipper will be desperate to play in the high-voltage game.

While the Aussies have directed plenty at the Indian skipper, he has not fired in this series, with scores of 0, 13, 12, 15 and 6. The Dharamsala pitch usually has good carry and Kohli would be hoping to shake off the poor run in this series.

Kohli injured his right shoulder in the 40th over of Australia’s first innings in Ranchi. Peter Handscomb played a ball from Ravindra Jadeja to wide long on and he chased and dived. He did stop the boundary, but fell heavily in the process. He was off the field for a long period as Ajinkya Rahane led the team, and although the BCCI media release said it was only a ‘strain’ and that Kohli would return to action, the manner of his fall suggested it could be more serious.

First Published: Mar 23, 2017 20:56 IST