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Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has said that the opportunity of Virat Kohli from the final three Test matches is an opportunity for other senior players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara to step up their game. India will play a four-Test match series after the conclusion of the limited-overs leg vs Australia. Meanwhile, Kohli will be on paternity leave in the final three Test matches owing to the birth of his first child.

Speaking to Times of India, the former Indian skipper said that the absence of Virat Kohli is an opportunity for other players to step up their game.

Kohli’s Absence An Opportunity For Other Players: Sunil Gavaskar

“If you actually have a look, India have won every time Virat wasn’t there, be it the Dharamshala Test against Australia, the Afghanistan Test, Nidahas Trophy or the Asia Cup in 2018. Indian players do tend to raise their game when he is not around. They understand they have to make up for his absence,” Gavaskar told TOI on Friday.

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Speaking earlier to Sony Sports Network, Gavaskar saw the absence of Kohli as an opportunity for players like Pujara and Rahane. he believes that captaincy will bring out the best of Rahane, while Pujara will be usual self while batting.

“It’s going to be tough for Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Both these players have to bat out of their skin. Captaincy will actually help Rahane. He will feel a lot more secure and in control of situations. The selection committee is clear about who should lead in Virat’s absence and he has done well as a Test captain,”

“If he is let alone and no pressure is put on him, that’s going to work in India’s favour. He is so rock steady, the others can score around him and play shots” Gavaskar said on Pujara.

The four-match Test series starts from December 17 with the first one being a day-night Test match in Adelaide. This will be India’s first Pink-Ball test overseas.

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