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KL Rahul sidelined for Third Test, Devdutt Padikkal to Replace Him

India lost KL Rahul to a strained knee before the Rajkot Test against England. Rahul’s Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal replaces him.

Rahul missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a quadricep injury and qualified for the last three Tests if fit. He “has reached 90% of match fitness” and “will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test,” according to a BCCI release on Monday evening.

Jadeja’s Test Availability

India already doesn’t have a lot of hitting experience because Virat Kohli is out for personal reasons, and Rahul’s absence makes things even more difficult. They also didn’t pick Shreyas Iyer for the last three Tests.

Besides that, it’s still not clear if Ravindra Jadeja has fully healed from the hamstring injury he got in the first Test in Hyderabad. While Jadeja is on the team for the third Test, which will be played on his home field, he has not yet been given the all-clear to play.

Jadeja’s Test Availability

Padikkal’s Test Debut

Padikkal, meanwhile, has called up for his first Test match. He will likely join the team on Tuesday after returning from Chennai, where he scored 151 runs and had 36 balls against Tamil Nadu in the fifth round of the Ranji Trophy, which ended on Monday.

Padikkal, a left-handed batter who is 23 years old, has scored 556 runs in six games, with an average of 92.66. He has three hundred, with his best score of 193 coming in the first game of the season against Punjab. Before his most recent Ranji game, Padikkal played well for India A against the visiting England Lions in Ahmedabad, scoring 65, 21, and 105. The hundred in the second unofficial Test was part of a huge hitting effort in the first innings that helped set up a win in that innings.

Devdutt Padikkal also went on the shadow tour to South Africa with India A in December, where he trained with India’s regular Test players before a match between members of the same group.

Padikkal’s Test Debut

“I don’t look at it in terms of just being an opener anymore,” he remarked. My possibilities, wherever they are, are fun. Batting positions present different challenges. Learning and adapting are my goals. It helps me improve as a player and understand the game better—not just my batting but also how it operates across phases.”

With 31 matches and a 44.54 average, Padikkal has good first-class credentials. In July 2021, he played two T20Is for India against Sri Lanka.

India’s squad for the third Test:

Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), 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.

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    February 15, 2024 at 8:01 am

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