KL Rahul, Jadeja out of Visakhapatnam Test against England due to injury | Crickit
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KL Rahul, Jadeja out of Visakhapatnam Test against England due to injury

By, Mumbai
Jan 29, 2024 10:50 PM IST

Prolific Mumbai run-getter Sarfaraz Khan has been added to the squad along with Washington Sundar and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar

India’s batting line-up in the second Test against England starting at Visakhapatnam on Friday will have a very different look with KL Rahul ruled out due to "right quadriceps pain", besides Virat Kohli’s absence.

India's Ravindra Jadeja walks off the ground after his dismissal on 87 during the third day of first test match between India and England, at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, Saturday, Jan. 27(PTI)
India's Ravindra Jadeja walks off the ground after his dismissal on 87 during the third day of first test match between India and England, at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, Saturday, Jan. 27(PTI)

Rahul kept wicket in the Tests at South Africa. His injury meant Mumbai run-machine Sarfaraz Khan finally gets a much-awaited entry into the India fold. Sarfaraz, 26, may still be behind Rajat Patidar in the pecking order. The prolific Madhya Pradesh batter is expected to make his Test debut.

The other notable absence from India’s playing eleven is all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who suffered a hamstring injury on the fourth day of the Hyderabad Test. In his place, Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar, a consistent performer at domestic level and on the India A circuit, has been added to the squad. He will start behind Kuldeep Yadav, whose attacking wrist-spin is likely to be preferred as Jadeja’s replacement.

The selectors have also picked off-spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar in a 17-member squad that also includes pacer Avesh Khan. “Washington’s selection was to offer the team management an additional spin option, also someone as cover for the loss of batting depth due to Jadeja’s injury. The final call will be taken based on the look of the pitch,” a BCCI official said.

Sarfaraz’s selection marks a shift in the thinking of the national selectors who have been overlooking his strong batting claims – 2,466 runs in three Ranji Trophy seasons – as he wasn’t as prolific for India A. Both Sarfaraz, 26, and Patidar, 30, have essentially been domestic run-getters. Patidar came into the squad in Kohli's absence after scoring two hundreds for India A against England Lions, including 151 in a four-day first-class game.

Sarfaraz too boosted his case by scoring heavily (96, 55, 161) against England Lions at Ahmedabad in the ongoing shadow tour, watched by chief selector Ajit Agarkar. England Lions had good pacers in Matt Potts and Brydon Carse playing.

Marking his big day, Sarfaraz turned good friend Suryakumar Yadav’s congratulatory Instagram post "Maiden India call, utsav ki tayyari karo’ in a Reel to movie song ‘Aashayein’, which is about overcoming obstacles.

With India smarting from the 28-run loss at Hyderabad where Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer’s failures against spin came particularly under scrutiny, the series is expected to further test the technique of Indian batters.

Shami’s ankle injury

Mohammed Shami is expected to be out of contention for most of the series. The pacer, after a phenomenal ODI World Cup, has been out of action with an ankle injury. “Shami had recently gone to England to consult an expert. He’s unlikely to be available before the fag end of the series,” a BCCI official said.

With Mohammed Siraj largely ineffective in the first Test, India are looking to tighten the department though the series will continue to be dominated by spin.

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