India batter Virat Kohli has withdrawn from the first two Tests against England for personal reasons.
The 35-year-old former captain has told India skipper Rohit Sharma and the side’s management that “certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention”.
The five-Test series begins in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Kohli’s withdrawal comes one day after England batter Harry Brook returned to the UK for personal reasons.
Kohli, who has played 113 Tests for India, is fourth on their list of all-time leading run-scorers with 8,848.
He has not missed a Test for India for more than two years, when he was ruled out of the match against South Africa in Johannesburg with a back spasm.
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“Virat has emphasised that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention,” said a statement from the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India.
“The BCCI respects his decision and the board and team management have extended their support to the star batter and are confident in the abilities of the remaining squad members to step up.
“The BCCI requests the media and fans to respect Virat Kohli’s privacy during this time and refrain from speculating on the nature of his personal reasons.”
India will name a replacement in the squad for Kohli, who led the side in 68 Tests between 2014 and 2022.