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Hodge hopes injury keeps Kohli at bay

Gujarat Lions head coach ponders IPL impact of shoulder injury that kept India captain out of deciding Border-Gavaskar Test

Former Australia batsman and Gujarat Lions head coach Brad Hodge hopes Virat Kohli's shoulder injury will prevent him from facing his franchise when the Indian Premier League gets underway next month.

After sustaining a shoulder injury on day one of the third Test in Ranchi, Kohli failed to recover to 100 per cent fitness for the series finale in Dharamsala and subsequently ruled himself out.

Now Kohli faces a race against the clock to be fit for the Royal Challengers Bangalore's opening match of the lucrative tournament, a replay of last year's final against David Warner's Hyderabad Sunrisers in 10 days' time.

While Hodge's Lions don't face RCB until April 19, the Victorian said he would be "dirty" if he was the coach of a side who played Kohli in the early stages of the competition after the India skipper stood out of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy decider.

Quick Single: Kohli out of deciding Test

"You'd hope as a sportsman that he's seriously injured," Hodge told Fox Sports News' Gameday Live.

"I'm hopeful, as a Gujarat Lions coach, that when we play RCB in a couple of weeks that he's not playing.

"Because if you miss one game of Test match cricket and you're fronting up the next week for RCB versus whoever, at Bangalore, Chinnaswamy Stadium…

"You'd be pretty dirty if he didn't front up to a Test match and try and win a valuable series against Australia.

"You would think that your captain would get out there and get amongst the fight and get in there."

Asked whether Kohli could be saving himself for the IPL, Hodge claimed: "It's happened before."

"Not just Virat, but there's many players that have come up to IPL time and ... look, we know it's a cash-rich tournament, there's some money up for grabs.

"He gets paid a helluva lot of money – he gets paid a helluva lot of money anyway, so it doesn't matter – but there are certain players who will limp in to IPL time, to make sure they get there and perform well, because it is an important tournament for everyone around the world."

Only time will tell if Kohli recovers to play in Bangalore's first match on April 5 in Hyderabad, but he made it crystal clear in the lead-up to the fourth Test only fully fit players would be considered for Test selection, with no exceptions.

"When we put these things in place the first thing I said was I'm not different from anybody else," Kohli said when asked about his fitness on the eve of the fourth Test.

"The same process applies for me as it does all the other members of the team.

"There's no special treatment for anyone.

"If I'm 100 per cent fit for the game is the only condition that I will take the field."


Test Squads


India (for fourth Test): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Mohammed Shami.


Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade


Australia's schedule in India


Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune – Australia won by 333 runs.


Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru – India won by 75 runs.


Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi – match drawn.


Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala