‘Don’t know when Virat Kohli will return': India batting coach backs new No.4 | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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‘Don’t know when Virat Kohli will return': India batting coach backs new No.4 Rajat Patidar to come good in IND vs ENG

Feb 23, 2024 08:15 AM IST

Rajat Patidar has underperformed in the ongoing Test series against England but in the absence of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, he becomes crucial for India.

India's batting coach, Vikram Rathour, has thrown his support behind a struggling Rajat Patidar ahead of the fourth Test against England, set to commence on February 23 in Ranchi. Patidar has endured a challenging start to his Test career, tallying just 46 runs at an average of 11.50 across two matches.

India's players celebrate after India won the third Test against England in Rajkot(AP)
India's players celebrate after India won the third Test against England in Rajkot(AP)

Making his debut in the Vizag Test and retaining his spot in the playing XI for the Rajkot Test, Patidar's batting performances have left much to be desired. Disappointing both fans and critics, he managed scores of 32 and 9 in Vizag, followed by a dismal outing in Rajkot with scores of 5 and 0 in each innings.

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Patidar earned his place in the Indian squad after Virat Kohli withdrew due to personal reasons. He got his Test cap in Vizag as a replacement for the injured KL Rahul and batted at no.4 across both Tests. While there are speculations over his place in the XI in the fourth Test in Ranchi, coach Rathour insisted that a player cannot be termed on the basis of just two matches, especially when there is no timeframe on Kohli and Rahul's return.

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‘Two bad games don’t make Rajat Patidar a bad player'

"If KL Rahul comes back, if Virat Kohli comes back... We don't know when that is going to happen. We have been having a lot of conversations with him [Patidar]. One thing he has to understand is that this is how this game works. He has been batting really well and scoring a lot of runs to get into the team.

"Two poor games don't make him a bad player. He just had two tough games, a couple of awkward dismissals, which can happen to anyone. There is absolutely no doubt that he is a good player. On his day, he will come up with an impactful innings," Rathour said during the pre-match press conference on Thursday.

With Rahul not in the squad for the Ranchi Test, Patidar will be hoping for another opportunity to prove his mettle in the longest format. With Sarfaraz Khan enjoying a stellar debut in the third Test and the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill in good form, Patidar is certainly facing the heat as Team India gears up for a series-clinching win in Ranchi.

The five-Test series is currently 2-1 in favour of the hosts; India had conceded a narrow defeat in the first Test but have since beaten England comprehensively across two games in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.

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