The 'captain aggressive' had contributed so much with the bat during 2018. He broke some records in the year, becoming the fastest to reach 10,000 ODI runs.
He won three ICC awards - 'ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year', 'ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of the Year', and 'ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year' for 2018. Undoubtedly, this is a result of his sheer hard work during the whole of 2018.
He got the series win by winning the first three ODI games. It is good to rest him as he has to be fresh for the World Cup. He would be expected to give his everything to lift the cup which India won way back in 2011.
Kohli's absence might be a benefit for a few players. As he is someone who overshadows almost everybody, it is evident that his absence would give the spotlight to certain players who would otherwise be invisible.
#Honourable Mention: The New Zealand Bowlers
Virat Kohli is a batsman who strikes fear on any given opposition bowling line up. His impressive achievements over the last one year alone are sure to give jitters to even the best bowling line up in the world.
While he had been amazing during the last three ODIs, scoring a total of 148 with an average of 49.33 which includes one 50+ score.
Without the series winning captain, there is a small glimmer of hope for the Kiwis. Now let us take a look at three players who are likely stealing the spotlight.
#3 Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill is going to return to New Zealand, this time in the main Indian squad. Last time when he played in New Zealand, it was the ICC Under 19 World Cup and boy what a series he had!
He scored 372 runs at an average of 124 with a healthy strike rate of 112.38. He would be hoping to get his first ODI cap in the absence of Virat.
Gill is a player who can play at any given position. He is the most flexible when it comes to batting. He opens the innings for his domestic side Punjab. He played at the number 3 slot for his team during the ICC Under 19 world cup. He batted in the lower order for KKR.
The India captain said some interesting words about the young lad at the conclusion of the third ODI game. "Shubman is a very exciting talent and I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten percent of that when I was 19."
Kohli's exclusion would mean that the youngster might be getting a chance in his number three slot. If Gill is to be given the slot and proves exceptional then even a chance in the world cup squad awaits.
#2 Kane Williamson
The entire series is promoted by the official Indian television broadcaster, star sports as a battle between the two great batsmen of modern cricket Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson using the hashtag #KohliOrKane.
That 🏠 feeling - Kane Williamson knows what we are talking about! 😉— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) January 25, 2019
Can he lead from the front and help 🇳🇿 make a comeback in the #NZvIND ODI series? Watch the 2nd battle from #KohliOrKane tomorrow at 7 AM, LIVE on Star Sports. pic.twitter.com/dS2mGc0Qlx
This is primarily due to the fact that these two hold the top two spots among the ICC player ranking for the best test batsmen. Although, there are no test matches in the series still test cricket is considered the purest format of the game and a batsman's greatness depends on the test match performances.
Apart from that, both these batsmen are more than handy when it comes to other formats as well. Both of them are main run scorers for their sides respectively in all three formats. In comparison, Virat has an ODI scoring rate of 92.65 to Williamson's 83.23 which is not too far behind.
Williamson had scored 112 runs in the first three matches thus far and is just 36 runs short of overtaking Virat. If he plays well and scores centuries he would even top the run charts which would be a welcome consolation for a team that had lost the series.
Never underestimate Williamson because of the last two matches. In 2014 India tour of New Zealand, he was the top ODI run scorer with 361 runs in 5 matches at an average of 72.20. Besides he scored 64 in the first match which proves that there is still room for action.
#1 Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is the best vice-captain in international cricket at the moment. He won two huge trophies in Asia Cup and Nidahas Trophy without Virat in 2018.
There might be a possibility for Rohit to succeed Virat as a captain sooner than expected. The frequent chances, given to Rohit and the way he grabs the opportunities are all good for his future captaincy aspirations.
He needs to grab one again and win all the matches he captains in the series. This would further increase his win percentage as captain.
Virat is undoubtedly a good captain and his fans would hope for the team to lift the world cup under his leadership but if they do not then there might be a change in captaincy. In such a situation Rohit's past wins would definitely speak for him.
While the pressure is too high on Virat and his fans as the ICC World Cup 2019 approaches the same is on Rohit and his fans as the two matches and T20I series does.
Who is going to benefit the most out of the players listed here? Is there anyone else you think would benefit from Virat's absence in the upcoming matches. Use the comment section below to register your opinions.