'He had a word with the whole unit before leaving and the idea was to boost the confidence of the boys and keep them positive.'
India captain Virat Kohli left Australian shores on Tuesday with a message for his teammates as they aim to bounce back after the debacle in the opening Test in Adelaide.
Kohli is heading home for the birth of his first child next month with actor wife Anushka Sharma. The second Test between Australia and India will be held in Melbourne from December 26.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will take over the captaincy for the remaining three Tests.
Sources said that Kohli left for India on Tuesday morning after a meeting with his teammates to boost their morale after the demoralising loss to Australia in the day-night Adelaide Test.
After being bundled out for 36 in the second innings -- India's lowest Test score, the team got a lot of criticism, but skipper Kohli wants the team to move forward and focus on the upcoming games.
"Kohli has left Australia today morning. He had a word with the whole unit before leaving and the idea was to boost the confidence of the boys and keep them positive. He officially handed over the mantle of captaincy to Rahane and asked the team to keep showing intent and express themselves on the pitch. With Rohit Sharma set to join the squad only after the second game, Rahane's role becomes all the more important in guiding the youngsters," the source said.
Rohit, meanwhile, is quarantining in Sydney and there has been no talks around moving him from the city after the fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
A BCCI official confirmed that while Rohit will continue his quarantine in Sydney, the Indian board and the team management are constantly in touch with right-hander.
"He does not need to move from Sydney. He is safe and is in a bio-secure environment undergoing quarantine. While he is alone in his room, the Indian board as well as the team management is constantly in touch with him. If there was any emergency or if we felt that he needed to get out of Sydney, we would. But for now, he is completely safe there," the official told ANI.
Asked about the endurance programme that Rohit was handed by the physio when he left for Australia, after completing his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy, the official said: "He is being monitored by the physios and he is doing his regular endurance work in his room. It is all about keeping fit and ready for action when it comes to hitting the ground running."
Cricket Australia on Sunday confirmed that the Sydney Test match between India and Australia remains on track for now despite a fresh COVID-19 cluster in Sydney.
The third Test between India and Australia is slated to be played in Sydney from January 7 while the last Test of the series will go ahead at Brisbane from January 15.