India’s leading Test batsman KL Rahul has been ruled out for the third Test match against England in Rajkot starting Februaty 15.
On Saturday, while announcing the team, the BCCI statement had said that “the participation of Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul is subject to fitness clearance from the BCCI medical team”.
While Rahul wasn’t found to be fully fit yet, Jadeja was given the green signal to take the field for the crucial third Test in the series which is tied 1-1. The medical team, it is learnt, has told the selectors that they would observe Rahul for one more week to take a call on his availability.
Rahul is still at NCA and he hasn’t traveled to Rajkot. The BCCI and the Indian team management is hoping that Rahul will be fit by the fourth Test.
Rahul was earlier ruled out for the second Test at Vizag after he had complained of right quadriceps pain during the first Test match in Hyderabad.
Injuries and withdrawals have impacted the Indian team in the ongoing series. The biggest blow was the absence of team’s superstar, Virat Kohli, who has informed the Indian board that he was sitting out of the series because of personal reasons. This was followed by India’s big batting hope, Shreyas Iyer, losing his place in the side because of lack of runs.
Replacing Rahul in the Test squad will be another Karnataka batsman Devdutt Padikkal. In his latest Ranji Trophy match, Paddikal had scored 151 with the chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar watching the Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu game from the stands. The left-hander has been in sparkling form this season. After his 193 against Punjab in the opening Ranji game, he scored 103 against Goa.
Padikkal also scored 105, 65 & 21 in his three innings for India A in the two unofficial Tests against England Lions.
Speaking after his innings against TN, the opener spoke about bouncing back from health issues to now scoring runs consistently and that he was flexible when it came to batting order. “I don’t mind batting at No.3 and I don’t mind opening either. So that doesn’t really make a huge difference. As you play more and more cricket and as you gain experience, at this level you will naturally be able to play more shots because you will be more confident about your areas,” he had said.