'Irreplaceable' Virat Kohli's absence advantage for Australia: Allan Border

India captain has been granted paternity leave during Test series

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 07, 2019 India's captain Virat Kolhi and his wife Anushka Sharma walk on the field as they celebrate India's series win on the fifth day of the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. The 32-year-old and his Bollywood actress wife Anushka Sharma are expecting a baby in January and Kohli has been given permission by the Indian cricket board to return home after the first Test in Adelaide, which begins on December 17, 2020. - -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --
 / AFP / Peter PARKS / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

Former Australia captain Allan Border believes India skipper Virat Kohli's decision to take paternity leave will give Australia a key advantage in the upcoming Test series.

Kohli will leave the tour after the first of four Tests, due to start in Adelaide on December 17, for the birth of his first child with Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.

"I think that is a big 'out' for India," Border told The Times of India newspaper.

"He is irreplaceable at the moment as a batsman and as a leader," he added.

India are also scheduled to play three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series.

Kohli led India to their first Test series win in Australia on their last tour in 2018-19. But the home side were without batting stars Steve Smith and David Warner, who were serving one-year bans for ball-tampering.

Border said he was "very confident" of Australia's chances this time around, predicting a 2-1 win thanks to their quality bowling attack and batting line-up strengthened by Smith and Warner.

He said India could also struggle with the mental fatigue of spending weeks in "bubble" conditions so far from home. But he said the biggest factor would be Kohli's absence.

"I love the way he plays his game – he wears his heart on his sleeve," Border said. "I like his aggression and passion for the game. India as a team will miss that."

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