A grimacing Virat Kohli left the field on Thursday, in the 40th over of the Australian innings, clutching his right shoulder after landing awkwardly near the mid-on boundary rope in his diving effort to save a Peter Handscomb boundary. A scan later in the evening revealed a "strain" but a BCCI statement said there was "no serious concern" and "he will continue to receive treatment, which will assist him to participate in the rest of the match". Considering Kohli's importance to the Indian side in this delicately poised series, there was massive interest in Indian captain's injury update not just in the digital world but also in Ranchi, venue for the ongoing Test.
Kohli is by far the most popular Indian cricketer at the moment, enjoying demi-god status among fans. The 28-year-old, many believe, could go on to break several of his idol Sachin Tendulkar's records.
Hence it comes as no surprise that Kohli is revered by the Indian cricket public, just like Tendulkar. A glimpse of this craze for Kohli was witnessed on Thursday even he emerged from a local hospital after undergoing a scan for his shoulder injury.
Ranchi's cricket lovers turned up in huge numbers outside the hospital to catch sight of the cricket icon. Kohli was well-protected by armed men, who made sure he was safely escorted from the hospital to his car. Kohli, greeted by chants and flashbulbs, didn't interact with the fans and made his way to the car.
The video prompted former England captain Michael Vaughan, who interviewed the Delhi batsman recently, to compare him to Premier League footballers.
A small insight into How Indian cricket players are bigger stars than Premier League Football players over here !!! https://t.co/QhIYgh46tw— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 17, 2017
Kohli's absence from the field, however, would not affect his number four batting position as this was an external injury.
According to the ICC's playing conditions, if a player is absent from the field for longer than eight minutes, the player, "shall not be permitted to bat unless or until, in the aggregate, he has returned to the field and/or his side's innings has been in progress for at least that length of playing time for which he has been absent or, if earlier, when his side has lost five wickets."
However, the clause does not apply if the player has suffered "an external blow (as opposed to an internal injury such as a pulled muscle) whilst participating earlier in the match and consequently been forced to leave the field.
Nor shall it apply if the player has been absent for very exceptional and wholly acceptable reasons (other than injury or illness)."
(With inputs from PTI)