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Virat Kohli will find himself “among equals” in a leadership group once he returns to the India squad for the Test series against England starting next month, according to reports. Kohli was absent for the final three matches of the four-match series against Australia. India lost the first game with their skipper but won two of the next three without him to pull off an incredible series victory.
Kohli was granted paternity leave for the birth of his first child but is back in the squad for the first two Tests against England.
Ajinkya Rahane took over the captaincy after Kohli returned home and masterminded one of the greatest comeback wins in the history of the game.
After being bowled out for 36 in the first Test, India bounced back and completed the turnaround in fine style by chasing 328 deep into the final day at the Gabba on Tuesday.
There have been calls from the likes of former England skipper Michael Vaughan to give Rahane the captaincy on a permanent basis.
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The Times of India says there is no imminent danger to Kohli’s position as captain.
However, the report claims there will be a different setup in the India dressing room when the 32-year-old returns.
Kohli will remain “first” but will be “among equals” in a leadership group also consisting of Rahane, Ravi Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara, who have created their own “legacy” because of the Australia series.
Following the win in Brisbane, India head coach Ravi Shastri defended Kohli and said the team would not be where it is without his impact.
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“This team has tremendous character and self-belief,” Shastri said.
“Even after being bowled out for 36, the team had the belief that they could come back.
“Virat [Kohli] also left the team, but he will always be with us. That’s because this team wasn’t built during this series.
“This team has been built over the past five or six years. And Virat Kohli’s character has rubbed off on the team.
“Ajinkya Rahane led in Virat’s absence, and while he’s a cool customer, he’s a real fighter from inside.
“He handled the troops really well in Virat’s absence.”
Kohli also tweeted his delight at the win and hit back at his team’s critics.
He wrote: “WHAT A WIN!!! Yessssss. To everyone who doubted us after Adelaide, stand up and take notice.
“Exemplary performance but the grit and determination was the standout for us the whole way.
“Well done to all the boys and the management. Enjoy this historic feat lads. Cheers.”
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