Indian Test Squad Gets Weaker As KL Rahul Suffers Injury And Flies Home
KL Rahul did not feature in the playing XI in the first two tests against Australia. However, he did take the field as a substitute and continued to train with the squad. Given the poor form of P Shaw who was dropped after the first test and M Agarwal who could be dropped for the third test, there were calls for KL Rahul to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
KL Rahul has opened for India in test matches before and has a good technique to play the new ball. There were many who felt that if Rohit Sharma was not fit to play at the SCG, KL Rahul should take the place of M Agarwal. There were also others who felt that H Vihari should be dropped for the third test and KL Rahul should take his place to strengthen the middle order.
KL Rahul Ruled Out Of Series
Well KL Rahul isn’t going to open the innings or fit into the middle order as the batsman has already returned to India. KL Rahul suffered a wrist injury that effectively ruled him out for the rest of the series.
This is yet another big blow to India’s push to win the test series in Australia. With the series tied 1-1 and two more games to play, the third test which starts on Jan 7 at the SCG is a crucial test match for both sides.
The SCG has a pitch that has a reputation for offering assistance to the spinners and KL Rahul is a good player of spin.
Former opener Wasim Jaffer who has made it a habit to tweet in code and offer tips to captain A Rahane on his playing XI, had earlier called for KL Rahul to be part of the playing XI at the SCG. The good news for team India is that Rohit Sharma is fit and is likely to replace M Agarwal at the top of the order.
The BCCI has so far not called for a replacement for KL Rahul, which means H Vihari is likely to retain his spot in the side for the third and fourth tests as there is no one else to fill in.
Will Injuries Prevent India From Winning Series?
The current betting odds for India to win the test series is 4/1 while Australia are at 8/11. The possibility of a drawn test series currently has odds of 12/5. India came into the test series with a strong chance of winning and has done alright given that the series is at 1-1.
India have suffered numerous injuries in the lead up to the test series and during the test series which have weakened the squad tremendously. The quality of players on the bench has helped India recover to some extent.
The bowling department has been hit more than the batting department as Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the first test and Umesh Yadav after the second test. Ishant Sharma was expected to return for the third and fourth test but he has not proven his fitness.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is also out with injury. India debuted M Siraj at the SCG and will most likely hand out a test cap to either T Natarajan or N Saini at the SCG.
The batting department has also been weakened to some extent. Rohit Sharma was not fit to play the first two tests but thankfully has recovered in time for the third test. Captain Virat Kohli left Australia after the first test to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
India will hope that they can get through the third test unscathed from injury and win so that they get a 2-1 lead.