IND v ENG: Rahul ruled out, Padikkal comes in for third Test against England

Rajkot, Feb 12 (IANS) Wicketkeeper-batter K.L Rahul has been ruled out from the third Test match against England due to a sore knee. Rahul, who had already missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a right quadriceps issue, now faces another setback on the road to recovery.

He was due to link up with the squad on Tuesday but after following scans done in Bangalore it became clear that he wasn’t up to full fitness.

Rahul’s Karnataka teammate, Devdutt Padikkal, will fill the void left by the injured batsman. Padikkal, known for his elegant strokeplay and promising talent, steps up to the challenge, ready to make his mark on the Test stage.

With a strong run of recent form, Padikkal receives his first call-up to the Test squad. With three hundreds to his credit, Padikkal has amassed 556 runs at a 92.67 average in the present Ranji Trophy. He struck 105 for India A against the England Lions, right before he blasted 151 in a Player-of-the-Match effort on Friday against Tamil Nadu.

Debuting in the 2018–19 domestic season, Padikkal has participated in 31 first-class matches and amassed 2227 runs at 44.54. Against Sri Lanka in July 2021, he participated in two Twenty20 Internationals for India.

With Virat Kohli already sidelined due to personal reasons, India’s batting lineup is left somewhat depleted, lacking the experience and depth needed to counter the English bowling attack effectively. The absence of Shreyas Iyer, overlooked for the remaining three Tests, further adds to the batting conundrum. With crucial positions to fill and key players missing, India’s team management faces tough decisions ahead of the Rajkot Test.

Adding to the uncertainty is the status of Ravindra Jadeja, whose participation hangs in the balance pending a fitness clearance. The all-rounder, nursing a hamstring injury sustained during the first Test in Hyderabad, is eager to make a comeback on his home ground in Rajkot. However, his availability remains uncertain, leaving a question mark over India’s bowling options.

Updated India squad for the third Test: Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Devdutt Padikkal, Sarfaraz Khan, Rajat Patidar, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep

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