Lyon laments Kohli’s absence after first Test, but says India will still be strong

MELBOURNE, Nov 13: Veteran spinner Nathan Lyon believes Virat Kohli’s absence in the last three Tests of upcoming series doesn’t necessarily make Australia favourites to lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as India boasts of a lot of “superstars” in its team.

India captain Kohli will leave after the opening Test in Adelaide as he has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI to be with his actor wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child in early January.

Test specialist Lyon said he is obviously disappointed to get limited opportunity to get a crack at Kohli, who is considered one of the best batsmen in the world.

“It’s disappointing for the series. You want to play against the best players in the world. I believe he is the best player in the world along with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. It’s disappointing but they have still got superstars.

“Look at Pujara, Rahane, and they have also got a couple of young guys coming in. It’s still going to be a massive challenge for us,” Lyon was quoted as saying by Fox Sports.

“Just because Virat’s not here doesn’t mean we get to hold the trophy up. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, a lot of homework to do,” he added.

India”s tour of Australia comprises three ODIs, as many T20 Internationals and four Tests. The series begins on November 27. The Tests start on December 17 in Adelaide.

Kohli will miss the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne (December 26-30), New Year’s Test in Sydney (January 7-11) and the final game at the Gabba (January 15-19). (PTI)