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IND vs ENG: With KL Rahul out, Sarfaraz Khan prepares for much-awaited India debut in Rajkot – News18


With KL Rahul ruled out of the third India vs England Test in Rajkot, the Indian team conundrum has intensified further. The right-handed batsman, who was initially ruled out of the Visakhapatnam Test due to quadriceps pain, was named in the Indian team for the remaining three Tests, but his participation was subject to clearance from the BCCI medical team. However, a BCCI statement on Tuesday confirmed that Rahul is not fully fit and will be monitored by the medical team for another week.

Rahul is replaced by his Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal who is enjoying a good run with the bat in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season with over 500 runs in 6 innings. But most likely he will have to wait for his Test debut with Sarfaraz set for a much-awaited debut in India.

READ ALSO | IND vs ENG: KL Rahul ruled out of Rajkot Test, to be replaced by Devdutt Padikkal

With Shreyas Iyer already ruled out, Virat Kohli unavailable, still no update on Ravindra Jadeja’s availability and now with Rahul ruled out, India’s selection of playing XI for the third Test becomes very complicated. Before the action unfolds in Rajkot on Friday, let’s take a look at what India’s final line-up against England would look like.

Sarfaraz, in line to debut

With Rahul and Iyer out of the competition, Sarfaraz becomes an automatic pick to take the no. 4th place in the lineup. After averaging over 100 and scoring consistently in the last three seasons, the Mumbai batsman received a maiden call-up ahead of the Vizag Test but was limited to carrying drinks and a fielding substitute. However, the absence of Rahul, Iyer and Kohli will allow Sarfaraz to fulfill his dream of playing for the country. Rajat Patidar could be promoted to number 4 and Sarfaraz could be placed at number 5.

Rajat Patidar to retain his place

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The Madhya Pradesh star made his debut in Visakhapatnam, replacing an injured Rahul. Considered a ‘natural batsman’ by his state coach, Patidar looked composed in his first outing with a score of 32, but could only manage 9 in the second innings, falling prey to Rehan Ahmed on both occasions. But just one innings is not enough to relegate Patidar and with Kohli and Iyer missing, he would be promoted to No. 4.

Jadeja’s dilemma: If fit, will India abandon Kuldeep?

Questions are being raised over Jadeja’s availability, which is subject to clearance from the BCCI medical team. The ace all-rounder missed the second Test due to a hamstring injury and moved to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehabilitation. He continued to post updates on his recovery and eventually returned to the team for the next three games. But is he fit to play in Rajkot? There is no answer to this question so far.

If Jadeja fails, Kuldeep retains his place. However, the return of the all-rounder could force the Chinese player to warm up the bench. Rajkot is known for its flat tracks and under no circumstances would India overlook Jadeja, if he is fit, as he brings batting stability to the playing XI.

Dhruv Jurel v KS Bharat

Much has been said about Bharat’s contribution with the bat in the last two games. He scored 41, 28, 17 and 6 in four innings and more than the lack of runs from him, the way in which he lost his wickets raised questions about his place in the order. Bharat’s bats move down the order where the team requires a reliable hand but Andhra’s wicketkeeper-batsman has failed to produce positive results. He has added only 221 runs in 7 games at a meager average of 20.09.

On the other hand, Jurel has retained his position as second goalkeeper and several experts have endorsed his debut in the test. The Uttar Pradesh keeper-batsman has 790 runs to his name in 15 FC matches, including a century and five fifties. His recent heroics for India A in South Africa probably accelerated his career and it will be interesting to see if the management takes a bold step by allowing him to play his first Test at home.

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Mohammad Siraj replaces Mukesh Kumar

Mohammed Siraj is back in the mix and will, in all likelihood, replace Mukesh in the playing XI to help Jasprit Bumrah. The management had already made it clear that the players would be rotated to manage the workload and from there, Siraj would have another game in Rajkot.

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  • CricketNext’s predicted XI for the Rajkot Test:

    Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Axar Patel, Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj.

    Aakash BiswasA cricket enthusiast whose dreams of playing for India paved the way for a competitive…Read more

    first published: February 12, 2024, 21:06 IST

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    IND vs ENG: With KL Rahul out, Sarfaraz Khan prepares for much-awaited India debut in Rajkot - News18

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