Virat Kohli injury: Asking the India captain to bat in the third Test against Australia, a risk not worth taking

Deepak Vikraman
Virat Kohli, injury, India, Australia, third Test

Reuters

When you're the best player in your side, the superstar, the one that everyone looks up to, the leader, the captain – it is always tempting to want to play, no matter what. That temptation, though, naturally, is fraught with danger.

Ind vs Aus Day 2 score and report

So, when Virat Kohli landed heavily on his right shoulder, while trying to prevent a boundary on day one of this third Test match against Australia in Ranchi, the immediate thought was "hopefully, it isn't serious."

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Then when he did not come out to field for the rest of the day, the immediate worry was, "OK, this could be a lot more serious than first thought/hoped."

And after Kohli decided not to come out to the middle for the remainder of Australia's batting innings on day two, despite a BCCI release saying the injury wasn't serious, the thought was, "OK, there is clearly more to this injury than the official statement said."

Even if India had lost four wickets on day two, Kohli was not going to bat, because the decision was clearly to give the shoulder a full day's rest.

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And even if it is a shoulder strain, what India need to be careful is to not take a risk with Kohli. Such is his importance to the side that risking a long-term problem by playing him in a Test match, while important, but not the "the most important match of all-time," is something the management should not do.

Kohli will obviously want to go out there and bat, but just the fact that he did not feature the whole of day two suggests, there is more to this shoulder injury than is being told. And if that is the case, Kohli should not come out to bat, plain and simple.

Imagine if he aggravates the injury, and he then has to go for some surgery, ruling him out of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

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Kohli is a bottom-handed player, so that right hand of his will come into play more often than not. While he uses his wrists more than his entire arm, is risking a long-term injury really worth it?

Even if the prognosis is that the few day's rest will not be enough for him to be fit for the fourth Test match, so might as well have a go in this third, Kohli should not come out to bat.

If there is the slightest risk of making a "minor" injury into a major one, the India team management, and the captain himself, need to think with their heads rather than their heart.

Kohli is the heart of this India team, but the side need him to tick along perfectly in the future as well, and that should not be put in jeopardy in the hunt for immediate goals.

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