India on the verge of disarray with Kohli in serious doubt for decider

DHARAMSALA: India quest to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is on the verge of disarray with captain Virat Kohli in serious doubt for the fourth Test.

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The hosts sent an urgent SOS to uncapped batsman Shreyas Iyer overnight, in a clear sign they are far from confident of Kohli’s availability for the decider starting on Saturday.

It’s unclear whether Iyer will be able to make it to Dharamsala in time for India’s final training session on Friday morning.

Kohli is still battling the shoulder injury he suffered in a fielding mishap on day one of the third Test last week in Ranchi. Wearing bandage on his right shoulder, Kohli did not bat at training on Thursday and could only throw underarm.

Although the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is on the line, Indian officials will be loathe to risk Kohli for fear that he will aggravate the injury and be unavailable for the start of the Indian Premier League, which begins on Wednesday week (April 5).

Kohli’s national contract is a fraction of what he earns with Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have signed him as their marquee player.

While down on runs, Kohli remains the heartbeat of the Indian team with his inspirational leadership, on-field presence and ability to rile the Australians.

There was a notable drop off in intensity last week when Kohli was off the field.

Iyer is one of the brightest young batting stars in Indian cricket. He blazed an unbeaten double century in a tour game against Australia but has since failed to pass 50 in his last six innings in the 50-over format for his domestic team Mumbai.

India will also consider Abhinav Mukund, who has endured a nightmare series. In the squad as the spare batsman, Mukund made zero and 16 while covering for opener Murali Vijay in the second Test and has also dropped catches when sent on to field as a substitute.