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India v England: KL Rahul’s fitness begs a question - how healthy is Team India?

KL Rahul was ruled out of the third India vs England Test in Mohali due to a forearm injury. The Karnataka opener’s career is being hampered by injuries that keep striking him repeatedly. That’s not a healthy sign

cricket Updated: Nov 26, 2016 16:02 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times
india vs england,team india,lokesh rahul
India's head coach Anil Kumble (left) talks with KL Rahul (centre) as wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha watches in Vizag(AFP)

Team India’s injury management is increasingly coming under the scanner after KL Rahul was ruled out of the third cricket Test between India vs England that got under way in Mohali on Saturday.

KL Rahul’s forearm injury gave Karun Nair a Test debut and improved Shikhar Dhawan’s chances to stage a return to the Test squad. But the question is whether India’s back-room team is handling injuries with care.

India have reeled from injuries and illness ever since the long home season started with the New Zealand series. Victories by emphatic margins against the Kiwis and recently versus England in the Vizag Test have overshadowed the injury issues.

“KL Rahul sustained a blow to his left forearm while fielding in Vizag. Injury got exaggerated in the nets. He feels uncomfortable while batting. BCCI medical team advised him rest to fully recover,” the official statement from the team stated.

Why wasn’t KL Rahul excused from the net sessions when the team knew he was injured?

KL Rahul had earlier missed out two Tests and five ODIs against New Zealand after suffering a hamstring injury during the Kanpur Test match.

For a 24-year-old youngster, with plenty of cricket talent, to get injured repeatedly is not a healthy sign. Rahul had a gruelling IPL series and was a Royal Challengers Bangalore regular.

Has IPL taken a toll on his health and fitness?

To lose a batsman who has scored three centuries and a fifty in his first 10 Tests is not only a personal setback to the batsman but a national loss.

Head coach Anil Kumble must be paying attention to these details that will finally impact the team’s long-term plans.

Illness like Chikungunya can’t be controlled, but there can be better injury management. Modern day cricketers run the risk of muscle injuries. It is a lifestyle problem too.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was out with back strain and even Wriddiman Saha encountered tendonitis issues. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back in the squad but has not been rushed into the playing XI yet.

India need to manage their fitness issues better. Fortunately, India have enough depth to replenish the gaps, but for a young squad, keeping fit is as important as scoring runs, taking wickets and not dropping catches.

First Published: Nov 26, 2016 15:16 IST