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K L Rahul missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a right quadriceps issue. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: India’s wicketkeeper-batter K.L. Rahul has been ruled out of the third Test against England in Rajkot starting from February 15.

His Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal who is currently playing the Ranji Trophy tournament has been named as his replacement. Padikkal, who is known for his elegant strokeplay, or Sarfaraz Khan could fill in a spot in middle order for the Rajkot Test.

Showing immense form in the recent days, Padikkal has three hundreds to his credit. The left-hander has amassed 556 runs at a 92.67 average in the present Ranji Trophy and struck 105 for India A against the England Lions, right before he blasted 151 in a Player-of-the-Match effort on Friday against Tamil Nadu.

Debuting in the 2018—19 domestic season, Padikkal has played in 31 first-class matches and amassed 2227 runs at 44.54. Against Sri Lanka in July 2021, he participated in two Twenty20 Internationals for India.

Not fully fit

Rahul, who had missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a right quadriceps issue, was supposed to join the squad on Tuesday but after scans in Bengaluru it became evident he wasn’t fully fit. Rahul will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test.

With Virat Kohli already sidelined due to personal reasons, India’s batting lineup is left somewhat depleted, lacking the experience and depth needed to counter the English bowling attack effectively. The absence of Shreyas Iyer, overlooked for the remaining three Tests, further adds to the batting conundrum. With crucial positions to fill and key players missing, India’s team management faces tough decisions ahead of the Rajkot Test.

Adding to the uncertainty is the status of Ravindra Jadeja, whose participation hangs in the balance pending a fitness clearance. The all-rounder, nursing a hamstring injury sustained during the first Test in Hyderabad, is eager to make a comeback on his home ground in Rajkot. However, his availability remains uncertain, leaving a question mark over India’s bowling options.

The five-Test match series is locked at 1-1.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja*, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Devdutt Padikkal.

With inputs from Agencies