KL Rahul ruled out for third Test against England; Devdutt Padikkal called up

KL Rahul ruled out for third Test against England;  Devdutt Padikkal called up

India were dealt a heavy blow in the run-up to the Rajkot Test against England, with KL Rahul ruled out of the competition due to knee soreness. Rahul’s Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal has been called in as a replacement.

Rahul had earlier missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a quadriceps injury and was included in the squad for the last three Tests only subject to fitness. *A BCCI statement on Monday night said he has “achieved 90 per cent match fitness” and will “continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be fully fit.” form for the fourth and fifth tests”. “.

The absence of Rahul, who already has little batting experience with Virat Kohli missing due to personal reasons, further complicates matters for India, who also did not pick Shreyas Iyer for the remaining three Tests.

Apart from that, it is yet to be confirmed whether Ravindra Jadeja has recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained during the first Test in Hyderabad. Jadeja is in the call to compete in the third test, which will be played in her field, but her participation is pending physical authorization.

Meanwhile, this is a first Test call-up for Padikkal, who is expected to join the team on Tuesday from Chennai, where he scored 151 and 36 against Tamil Nadu in the fifth round Ranji Trophy match that ended on Monday.
Padikkal, the 23-year-old left-handed batsman, has so far amassed 556 runs in six innings at an average of 92.66 this Ranji season. He has scored three centuries, with a high of 193 in the season opener against Punjab. Before his most recent Ranji outing, Padikkal impressed with scores of 65, 21 and 105 for India A against the touring England Lions in Ahmedabad. The century in the unofficial second Test was part of a massive first innings batting effort that helped deliver an innings victory.

He was also part of the parallel tour to South Africa with India A in December, where he had the opportunity to train alongside India’s Test regulars ahead of an intra-team match.

“South Africa was a great experience for me, in terms of having the opportunity to train with the seniors,” he told ESPNcricinfo last month. “Being in and around them, playing that level of bowling prepares you well for the Ranji season. I saw it as an opportunity to get volumes, in terms of my batting. I’m grateful for that experience.”

Having started as an opener, Padikkal has slowly transitioned into a predominantly senior role that requires him to bat at No. 3, and sometimes even at No. 4, for Karnataka. With Mayank Agarwal and R Samarth opening the innings for his state team, Padikkal has established himself further down the line. This change in role is something he has learned to accept after a lackluster IPL in 2023 for Rajasthan Royals. The turning point, he said, was his move to Lucknow Super Giants, where he will play with none other than Rahul.

“I no longer see him simply as a starter,” he had said. “I’m enjoying my opportunities, wherever they are. Every batting position offers a different challenge. I’m trying to learn new things, [and] adapt to situations. It helps me grow as a cricketer, [and] It helps me understand the game a lot more, not only in terms of my hitting but [also] how the game works in the different phases”.

Overall, Padikkal has solid first-class credentials, averaging 44.54 in 31 matches. He has played two T20Is for India, both against Sri Lanka in July 2021.

In Visakhapatnam, India made their Test debut to Rajat Patidar. Sarfaraz Khan is the other uncapped batsman in the mix along with Padikkal. Jadeja’s possible unavailability could well pave the way for another Test debutant in Rajkot. It is also likely that India could still pick one of Sarfaraz and Padikkal even if Jadeja is available and they play their usual three spinners and two quicks.

India have two full days of training before Rajkot, with the series tied 1-1.

India team for the 3rd Test: Rohit Sharma (captain), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Devdutt Padikkal.

GMT 1450 hrs. This story was updated with information from a BCCI press release.