Former India captain and batting stalwart Virat Kohli has pulled out of two Test matches against England due to personal reasons. The BCCI confirmed that Kohli, who was the highest run-getter for India in the two Test matches against South Africa, will be unavailable and has requested privacy for the same. The five-match series against England kicks off in Hyderabad on Thursday, January 25.

"Virat has spoken to Captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasized that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention," the BCCI mentioned in its release. Kohli's absence might leave a huge gap. However, in home conditions, India still have batters who could be counted on. The BCCI mentioned that a replacement could be announced soon. Here's a look at three players, who might replace Kohli in the squad for the first two Tests-

Sarfaraz Khan: Having played knocks of 96 and 55 in the two games playing for India A against the England Lions so far, Sarfaraz is knocking on every door of selection he has to, to get into the Test team. Averaging 154, 122 and 91 in the previous three Ranji Trophy editions, Sarfaraz has been the most consistent red-ball batter for India since 2020 in domestic cricket and no one deserves to get picked in the

Test team more than him. Will Kohli's absence finally provide an opportunity for Sarfaraz to get his maiden call-up?

Rajat Patidar: Having been picked in ODI squads over the last couple of years, Rajat Patidar has made all the right noise but the ongoing India A vs England Lions series has been a great example of him as a red-ball batter coming of age. Patidar, who has a first-class average of 45.97, has scored 151 and 111 in the last two games and has looked really good against both pace and spin and will be hoping that it pays off with an India call-up.

Cheteshwar Pujara: The 35-year-old might not be pulling his weight with performances at the highest level, however, he is scoring runs for fun in domestic cricket with a double hundred recently against Jharkhand in Ranji Trophy. Will Indian management go back to Pujara after hitting the transition button? Ajinkya Rahane has scored a couple of ducks and it feels like that door is closed, however, it may not be for Pujara as he has definitely kept the viewers and the selectors interested.

India's squad for first two Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), KS Bharat (WK), Dhruv Jurel (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan
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