Virat Kohli injury: To play or not to play, that is the question

Deepak Vikraman
Virat Kohli, India, Australia, 4th Test, Dharamsala

The worst possible news India could have had was Virat Kohli being ruled out of the fourth Test match against Australia in Dharamsala. Not just because of the great man's batting powers, but purely from an inspiration point of view, considering this is a winner-take-all, series-deciding contest.

India vs Australia 4th Test match schedule

Those fears grew when Shreyas Iyer was called up as cover for the India captain, with Kohli refraining from batting in the nets on Thursday.

More from IBTimes India: MCD elections 2017: Poll panel's order to hide 'Aam' from public displays is a 'Khas' problem for Kejriwal

He did take part in a couple of fielding drills as well as in the warm-ups, but, with that right shoulder of his still heavily strapped, Kohli skipped the batting session in the nets.

What is without any doubt is that Kohli is not a 100 per cent yet, and the captain himself insisted he will only play if he is fully fit.

Without Kohli in the field, India did reasonably well in that third Test match, with Ajinkya Rahane stepping in as the stand-in captain and restricting Australia to 451, which, as India proved with their first innings score, was a below par total.

More from IBTimes India: Top 10 insane supercars of UAE Police including Lykan HyperSport, Aston Martin One-77

However, with this final match being so important – the Test series is locked at 1-1 – Kohli's presence on the field will be essential. He brings energy, inspiration and that intangible quality that cannot be replaced.

That doesn't mean the team management should risk a long-term injury for one Test match.

Absolutely not.

More from IBTimes India: RK Nagar By-polls: Jayalalithaa legacy divided as Sasikala, OPS camps get different party names, symbols

If there is such a risk, the decision should be easy – no Kohli, with Rahane taking over as captain.

However, if the physio and the rest of the medical staff can find a way for Kohli to play, without too much of a risk of hurting his shoulder further, then India might go that way.

With Iyer being called up, what is clear is that, Farhart and co. are not really sure at the moment.

However, this could also be a way of playing a bit of mind games on Australia. As it sits, Steve Smith's side do not know if Kohli is going to play or not, and, as a result, they might not know what plans to make.

Even if Kohli hasn't quite hit the mark with the bat in this Test series, he remains the primary scalp for Australia, and there will be a lot of plans based on his batting, as well as his captaincy and what sort of decisions he might take in the middle.

Now, if Kohli is ruled out, Australia will have to plan for Rahane and his thought process and how different India might be on the field.

So, it gives another headache to Australia in their preparation.

More will be known about Kohli's fitness for this final Test match on Friday, and knowing the skipper, the chances of him missing out are pretty slim.

However, that final decision needs to be made with the head, rather than the heart.

Related Articles