Adelaide: Virat Kohli will lead India for the first time in Tests after regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out due to injury even as a fit-again Michael Clarke was confirmed Australia's captain for what promises to be an emotional opening Test starting here tomorrow.
"Yes, I will be leading tomorrow," Kohli said in the pre-match press conference. Dhoni, who joined the squad on Saturday, has failed to recover from a thumb injury. The 33-year-old was originally ruled out of the opening Test but came back in contention after the schedule of the series was rejigged following Phillip Hughes' tragic death.
Kohli, who recently led India to an ODI whitewash over Sri Lanka at home, will be in-charge of the team for the first time in the five-day format. In the Australian camp, the morale of the team was lifted with the inspirational Clarke declared fit for the match after recovering from a hamstring injury.
"It's a huge boost to have him back in and playing for us and with his captaincy," pacer Mitchell Johnson said. "And it shows how strong he has been over the last couple of weeks with the tragedy we have had. "He is a strong leader and has always been an aggressive leader ... he just has something about him when he's out there as captain."
Apart from injury, Clarke had been battling the emotional stress of losing Hughes, whom he considered his little brother. Hughes lost his life after being hit by a bouncer during a domestic game earlier this month. In a touching gesture to honour his memory, Hughes was named 13th man of the squad announced for the opening Test.
Australia XI: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon. Josh Hazlewood (12th), Phillip Hughes (13th).