MS Dhoni India
India skipper MS Dhoni in action during the 4th ODI against New Zealand. BCCI

Virat Kohli's credentials to lead in a major tournament will be put to the test after skipper MS Dhoni was ruled out of the Asia Cup due to injury.

Dhoni, who led India to a disappointing tour of New Zealand, picked up a side strain during the drawn second Test against the Kiwis, and will take no part in the continental series, which also involves Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and first-timers Afghanistan.

"MS Dhoni has been ruled out of the forthcoming Asia Cup, to be played in Bangladesh, in February-March 2014," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.

"He sustained a Grade I left side-strain injury during the course of the second Test against New Zealand. He will be undergoing rehabilitation for ten days."

Dhoni will be replaced behind the wickets by Dinesh Karthik, who recently made headlines during the IPL 7 auction, after being bought for the second highest amount, only behind Yuvraj Singh.

"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked Dinesh Karthik as his replacement in the Indian squad for the tournament," the statement added.

Kohli will lead in Dhoni's absence, and with calls for the India batsman to take over the reins permanently, it will be interesting to see just how he handles the pressure in such a high-profile tournament.

Following on the heels of the Asia Cup is the World T20, also to be held in Bangladesh, and India will be hopeful Dhoni's injury heals as expected so that the skipper can come into the World Cup rested and raring to go.