Thursday, May 30, 2024

Langer says he has enormous respect for Kohli for putting family ahead of cricket

Australia’s coach Justin Langer has respect for India’s captain Virat Kohli putting family before cricket as the two sides gets set for an Australian summer of intense cricket.

Kohli and his Bollywood star wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child in January and the Indian captain is set to return to return home after the opening Test in Adelaide which ends on December 21.

It would practically mean the end of tour for Kohli since he would have to quarantine himself for 15 days on return and thus would be in no position, in a practical way, to play the remaining three Tests in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

His absence is a blow to India’s chances and vice versa a huge lift for the home team. But both broadcasters and fans lose out big time in the absence of arguably world’s best batsman.

“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields,” Langer told reporters by video conference.

“I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision (to return for the birth).

“He’s a human being like all of us… if I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do.”

Kohli will lead India in three ODIs from late November, three Twenty20 internationals and the first Test — a day-night match — before leaving for home.

“Of course, it will have an impact (his absence), but we also know that India beat us last time (in 2018-19). They’re a very, very good team, we cannot get complacent for a second with or without Virat,” Langer added.

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