Michael Vaughan rates India's chances of beating Australia without Virat Kohli

Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Australia ‘fear’ Virat Kohli and says India are unlikely to win Down Under without him.

India travel to Australia later in the month to face the Baggy Greens in three ODIs, three IT20s and four Test matches.

Kohli led India to a historic 2-1 victory in their last Test series in Australia but the superstar batsman will miss three of this winter’s red-ball matches for paternity leave.

England legend Vaughan ‘refuses to criticise’ Kohli for missing Tests to be at the birth of his first child but admits his absence is a significant blow to India.

He said on the Tuffers and Vaughan podcast: ‘One thing is for sure, it gives India so much less of a chance of winning over there.

‘Kohli has an incredible record in Australia and the Aussies do fear him.

‘Che Pujara has a great record over there as well but Kohli can do things that not many players can.

‘You’d have to say that Australia now are the clear favourites to win that series because Virat Kohli is a superstar.’

Vaughan added: ‘I think the quarantine rules are part of his decision. It doesn’t surprise me in this world.

‘I certainly won’t be criticising someone for going back for the birth of his child. It’s one of the best things that he will ever be involved in.

‘I also understand those who will criticise the decision, especially with the passion of supporters in India. But I’m not going to criticise him for that.’

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell echoed Vaughan’s sentiments and said: ‘Me neither.

‘Some players in the past have missed big things and they then do feel a bit cheated later on.

‘Every time you represent your country, it’s a massive feeling. But there are a few things that outweigh scoring a century or getting a five-fer. It’s a personal decision.’

Kohli has scored more than 7,000 runs and 27 centuries in 86 Tests and is currently second in the ICC batting rankings, behind Australia’s Steve Smith.

Nathan Lyon, the Australia spinner, insists he is ‘disappointed’ Kohli is leaving the tour early but says India have other players who can win matches.

He said: ‘It’s disappointing, to be honest. It’s exciting for Virat and his wife and I wish them all the best.

‘But it’s disappointing for the series. You always want to play against the best players in the world and he’s right up there.

‘It’s disappointing but they’ve still got plenty of superstars and the series will still be a massive challenge for us.’

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