By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Nov. 13 (Reuters) – Virat Kohli is one of the best players Justin Langer has ever seen and his absence from the final three tests in the upcoming series will be keenly felt, the Australian coach said on Friday.
Kohli will return home after the series’ opening test at Adelaide Oval to be with his wife before the birth of their first child, depriving India of their star captain and drummer. said the impact on India would be like any team knocking out their top player.
“I’ve said it before, he’s probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons,” Langer told reporters on a video call.
“It’s not just his stick but his energy, his passion for the game, the way he plays. I can’t believe the energy he puts into everything he does.”
“Are we happy he’s not playing? It’s like taking Dustin Martin out of Richmond, isn’t it?” Langer added, referring to the Australian football champion.
Langer said he respects Kohli’s decision and will encourage his own players to skip cricket to attend for the birth of their children if that happens.
Australia were beaten by India 2-1 the last time Kohli’s team toured in 2018/19 and Langer said the hosts couldn’t afford to breathe easier without Kohli.
“Of course it will have an impact but we also know that India, they beat us last time, it’s a very, very good team,” he said.
“We can’t be complacent for a second with or without Virat. So we’re going to have to be on our toes all summer and can’t wait to see that.”
Kohli, however, will play in the short form internationals on the India tour, which begins with a one-day international series starting in Sydney on November 27.