NEW DELHI: KL Rahul, an important asset for the Indian cricket team, will not play in the forthcoming third Test against England in Rajkot. An unresolved right quadriceps injury will keep Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja from playing, just as they missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Rahul's injury, initially not seen as a big deal, has turned out to be more problematic. He was expected to return for the third Test, but it seems he's not fully healed. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will re-evaluate his fitness in a week.
With Rahul not playing, there's a clear chance for Sarfaraz Khan to make his debut. This newcomer, distinguished by his domestic cricket credentials, could have a significant start in Test cricket.
Intriguingly, Karnataka's left-hand batsman Devdutt Padikkal has been chosen to fill in for Rahul. Recently, Padikkal has been performing remarkably, hitting century after century in the Ranji Trophy games. His last six first-class matches saw him score five centuries, revealing his exceptional skill.
The BCCI's official statement said, "Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul's involvement depends on clearance from the BCCI medical team." This makes planning for the rest of the three Tests more challenging for the team management.
The team hasn't changed much, Rahul is still missing. Shreyas Iyer's underperformance in red-ball cricket has him out of the game. The fresh middle-order includes Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar and possibly Sarfaraz Khan, covering the third, fourth, and fifth spots respectively. The challenge lies in keeping India's strong standing against a tough England team intact.
Dhruv Jurel, the man behind the gloves, is in line for his first game. He replaces KS Bharat, someone who's been having a tough time when at bat. As India works through these injury hassles, the forthcoming Rajkot Test sets to test the depth, grit, and bounce-back ability of the team against England's tenacity.