Fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath predicts that the absence of Virat Kohli will leave an impact on the upcoming India-Australia Test series. Kohli will only be part of the series opening first Test in Adelaide before returning home to be with his wife Anushka Sharma, as they await the birth of their first child.

It was under Kohli that India won their first ever Test series on Australian shores during the tour of 2018-19 with the India captain playing an important role with the bat as well.

However, with Australia back to full strength after Steve Smith and David Warner’s return and the emergence of Marnus Labuschagne, the tourists have their task cut out.

“It will impact the series,” McGrath was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “The player of his quality and class, for India to lose him in three out of four Tests is a big blow. It will be for the other players to step up. I can totally understand him wanting to go back for his first child’s birth.”

“Kohli is worth two players; one, as a batsman and two, as the captain, setting the field with his energy and attitude. Australia would want to dominate the series and level the ledger. They have Smith and Warner back,” he added.

In Kohli’s absence, India’s batting will be reliant on the ever-dependable Cheteshwar Pujara who was the leading run-getter from either side during 2018-19 Test tour.

McGrath explained what sets Pujara apart from the modern batsmen

“The thing he did so well last time was that he occupied the crease. He spent time in the middle just batting. He is a kind of batsman who doesn’t feel pressure when not scoring runs. That’s unique in the modern era where there are batsmen who would want to score runs after one maiden over. Pujara doesn’t have that mindset. That helped him last time, allowed him to get a lot of time and just compile runs,” McGrath said.

The first Test, to be played in Adelaide, will be a day-night affair.

McGrath reckons it Kohli wants to leave an impact on the series, he will have to perform in the only Test he’s playing.

“That first Test is going to be interesting. That is a day-night Test. India haven’t played a day-night Test in Australia. At night, with the sun setting, it will probably start favouring the fast bowlers. It will be about timing, when you are bowling or batting,” McGrath observed.

“Virat, if he has to have an impact in the series, will have to make an impact in the only Test he is playing. That will set the tone. Two years back, the first Test win in Adelaide gave them a lot of confidence,” he added.

However, McGrath did add that India have enough quality batsmen in their squad and the likes of Rohit Sharma will be eager to step up in the absence of Kohli/

“As far as other batsmen are concerned, Rohit Sharma is a quality batsman who hasn’t achieved at the Test level what he should be achieving. Maybe when Virat goes home, he might just step up and show what he can do. You can’t just focus on one player. You have Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul. India has a strong batting line-up,” he said.