A lot has been written for and against Virat Kohli's decision to fly back home and be with Bollywood actress-wife Anushka Sharma during the birth of their first child.
His absence from the last three Test matches against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be felt dearly, especially after the stunning 2-1 Test win of India against the Aussies last year.
The news of Kohli taking a leave from duties was met with mixed reactions on social media. On one hand, Kohli fans backed him for choosing family over his work. But there was a section of cricket fans who compared him to veteran MS Dhoni's call to stay back for World Cup duties during the birth of his daughter Ziva.
On Thursday, a day ahead of the ODI clash, Kohli made his stance very clear over why he chose to return home to be with Anushka.
"I will be flying back after the first Test and that was purely based on the fact that we have a quarantine period both ways and I had explained the same to the selectors during our selection meeting," Kohli said in a virtual conference, a video of which was shared by the BCCI on Twitter.
"I wanted to be back home in time to be with my wife for the birth of our first child and it is a very very special and very very beautiful moment in our lives and something I truly want to experience," the skipper said before adding, "That was the reason behind my decision which was communicated to the selectors during the selection meeting."
Despite being candid about it and explaining the reason directly to his fans and lovers of the sport, Kohli was questioned (again) about his decision. Dhoni's example was cited again to further ridicule Kohli.
Virat sir you are on national duty you can't go off for personal reasons you are the strength of this batting order if you are not their then Aussies will become tough to defend We know you are in pressure from miss Sharma but think about it. — Dr.somesh magdum (@someshmagdum3) November 26, 2020
@imVkohli Sir,I am a big fan of you & respect u a lot.But when a man is in national duty then nothing should be more important.Because nation comes first.If indian armed force personals also follow the same then just give a thought what will happen then. Best wishes for baby,sir — S O U R A V (@Sourav_097) November 26, 2020
You should do your national duty first... — Gousup (@gousup) November 26, 2020
So basically you are saying Family first Nation next. Good thanks for making it clear. — Prathamesh Kokankar 🇮🇳 (@P_Kokankar) November 26, 2020
During 2015 odi world cup, in the same situation @msdhoni told that he is on a National duty and other things can wait. That's the difference between Ms dhoni and others@SaakshiSRawat @ChennaiIPL — Aniruthan (@Aniruth54786657) November 26, 2020
There were, however, many who voiced their support for Kohli.
"He is not a soldier, he is an athlete. Family is above anything else. Team India is capable enough to play the Aussies even without him. The guy has been playing nonstop for the past 8-9 years or so, give him some space, he deserves to be with his wife for this precious moment, (sic)" wrote one user in Kohli's defense.
He is not a soldier, he is an athlete,. Family is above anything else. Team India is capable enough to play the aussies even without him. The guy has been playing non stop for the past 8-9 years or so, give him some space, he deserves to be with his wife for this precious moment — عتیق 🏏 (@iAteeq56) November 26, 2020
Bro, ziva was born during 2015 world cup matches. No cricketer will skip this opportunity. This series is lighter than worldcup so virats flying back. If there is no quarantine then he will probably play the remaining matches — Krishna Valoor (@KValoor) November 26, 2020
Bhai koi army mein nahi hai jo national duty bol raha hai. It's just a profession and just like other people even he has the right to take paternity leaves. Btw Army mein bhi dete hai paternity leave ye toh tab bhi cricket hai. — Vivek (@Vivek50666557) November 26, 2020
"Mr Virat Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return to India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain. He will return after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide,” the BCCI press release read.