Former India captain Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant have been given a bio-bubble break by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ahead of the third and final T20 international against West Indies in Kolkata on Sunday. (More Cricket News)
Both the players will skip the T20 series against Sri Lanka but will be available for Tests.
Kohli, who was having a lean patch in the ongoing limited-overs series against West Indies, returned to form on Friday with a 41-ball 52 in the second T20 at the Eden Gardens as India clinched a thriller beating the Caribbeans by eight runs. India clinched the T20 series with a match to spare.
India will play Sri Lanka in the first T20 on February 24 in Lucknow followed by two more games at Dharamsala on February 26 and 27.
"Yes, Kohli has left home on Saturday morning as India have already won the series. As it has been decided by BCCI, it will be a policy to give all the regular all-format players periodic breaks from the bubble to ensure that their workload management and mental health is taken care of," a senior BCCI official told PTI.
The Indian team for the Sri Lanka series will be picked later in the day.
For both Kohli and the flamboyant Pant, Test cricket is of prime importance and both will be back for the two matches against Sri Lanka in Mohali (March 4-8) and Bengaluru (March 12-16) respectively. The match at Mohali will be Kohli's landmark 100th Test and the BCCI wants him to be fit and fresh for the momentous occasion.
Both Kohli and Pant have played most of the games from the start of the South Africa tour. Kohli has so far played two Tests, 6 ODIs and two T20 Internationals since the start of the away tour against South Africa.
He had missed one Test match due to back spasm and played all the games since the third Test in South Africa. Pant, on his part, played three Tests, six ODIs and two T20 Internationals and was also in need of a bubble break having constantly played post his two-Test break against New Zealand in early December.
“It’s never easy playing continuously with bubbles but when I started playing, this is what I wanted to do,” Pant said on Friday. Pant and Kohli's absence also opens two slots in the batting order where two among Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda and Ruturaj Gaikwad will be fitted in.