India has been dealt a blow in the lead-up to the third Test in Rajkot in the ongoing five-match series against England, with KL Rahul ruled out of contention due to injury issues. Devdutt Padikkal, Rahul's Karnataka team-mate, has been called in as a replacement.
Rahul had earlier missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a quadricep injury, and was included in the squad for the last three Tests only subject to fitness.
However, BCCI confirmed in a statement that Rahul had only reached 90% fitness and will continue to work at the NCA to attain full fitness.
“KL Rahul, whose availability for the remaining three Tests was subject to fitness, has been ruled out of the third Test against England in Rajkot. Mr. Rahul has reached 90 percent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team. He will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test,” BCCI stated.
BCCI also confirmed that left-handed batter Devdutt Padikkal was named Rahul’s replacement for the third Test, starting February 15, 2024.
Padikkal is coming off scores of 151 and 36 against Tamil Nadu in the fifth round of the Ranji Trophy fixture in Chennai that finished on Monday. Padikkal, the 23-year-old left-hand batter, has so far aggregated 556 runs in six innings at an average of 92.66 this Ranji season. He has scored three centuries, with a highest of 193 in the season opener against Punjab.
He further impressed with scores of 65, 21, and 105 for India A against the touring England Lions in Ahmedabad. In Visakhapatnam, India handed a Test debut to Rajat Patidar. Sarfaraz Khan is the other uncapped batter in the mix along with Padikkal.
India's squad for the third Test:
Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Devdutt Padikkal.