IND vs AUS: Kohli Leaves Australia After Pep Talk With Team India, Hands Captaincy Mantle to Rahane
File image of Virat Kohli©ICC-Twitter

Indian captain Virat Kohli left Australian shores on Tuesday after a pep talk with his beleaguered teammates, handing over the mantle of leading the side to Ajinkya Rahane in the remaining three Tests. Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child in January. The ace India batsman requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India for paternity leave. BCCI obliged and Kohli was allowed to play only the pink-ball Test in Adelaide.

Before boarding his flight back home, the 32-year-old met his teammates and encouraged them to give their all in the remainder of the series, which the visitors trail 0-1 after the heavy defeat in the opening Test. Long before setting foot on Australia, Rahane had been entrusted with the responsibility of leading in the team in Kohli’s absence after the star had approached the BCCI for paternity leave.

The idea behind organizing the pep talk was to boost the confidence of the players and keep them in a positive frame of mind heading into the crucial Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

India lost the series-opener in Adelaide within three days after crumbling to their lowest Test score of 36. The second Test is scheduled to be held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground from December 26-30.

Kohli, who has been leading the Test team since 2014, urged his players to show intent and express themselves on the field without any inhibition. While Kohli has departed for India, his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma is quarantining in Sydney.

Kohli was India’s best performer with the bat in the series opener, top-scoring with a sedate 74 in their first innings before being run out following a misunderstanding with Rahane. However, in the second innings, Kohli couldn’t make an impact and was dismissed on 4 as India endured a shambolic defeat on Day 3 itself.