Today in New Delhi, India
Jul 19, 2019-Friday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

India vs Sri Lanka: KL Rahul back in XI, Shikhar Dhawan or Abhinav Mukund out

Ahead of the Colombo Test, Virat Kohli has a selection dilemma over the opening combination after Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund put up a good show in Indian cricket team’s big win vs Sri Lanka national cricket team in the opening Test at Galle

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 02, 2017 14:39 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,IND vs SL,SL vs IND
Indian cricket team playersCheteshwar Pujara (R) and KL Rahul wait for their turn during the nets session at the Sinhalease Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Tuesday. The second Test between Virat Kohli-led India and Sri Lanka national cricket team starts on Thursday. (Getty Images)

KL Rahul will open the innings for Indian cricket team in the second Test against Sri Lanka starting at the Sinhalese Sports Club from Thursday. The Bangalore batsman will be making a comeback to international cricket after a gap of four months (he last played in March this year).

“KL Rahul has been our established opener. I feel one of the openers will have to make way for Rahul,” said skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday. “What he has done for us in the last two years has been solid. And he deserves to come back and start afresh in Test cricket.”

Kohli faces a selection dilemma over the opening combination after both Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund put up a good show in India’s big win against Sri Lanka national cricket team in the opening Test at the Galle International Stadium last week. Dhawan scored a blazing 190 and should get the nod to partner Rahul. Mukund, on the other hand, failed in the first innings but made amends with a polished 81 in the second, and smart fielding at the vital short-leg position.

However, Mukund is likely to miss out.

“Rahul played the practice game (ahead of the series) and looked very solid,” said Kohli. “It is very important to make him feel that this is his spot and it will not be changed because of unfortunate incidents that happened outside of the playing field or the injuries you can’t control. He really stuck it out in that (difficult) phase which was hard for him.”

The Indian skipper said Rahul had proved his value and the team is backing him. The Bangalore batsman has had a tough recent run where he underwent a shoulder surgery after the Australia series and missed the Indian Premier League (IPL), the ICC Champions Trophy and the limited overs series in the West Indies.

He started with a half-century in the warm-up game in Sri Lanka but fell ill and didn’t travel with the team for the first Test at Galle. However, he looked good in the practice session on Tuesday, and had two long stints in the nets, which, ultimately, got him the nod.

“It is very important to make Rahul feel secure,” said Kohli. “He has given us those good performances when the team required it. He needs to be backed and the management, and as captain, we all back him.

“It will be hard on the player who is left out, and the choice will be made on who played the impact innings in the first game. It is a very thin line,” added Kohli. “I feel in a situation like this, you need to sit down and think which player had the impact on the game and who was able to make a difference on the game straightaway.

“It all depends on who had a better game, it is a very thin line, very small margins, unfortunately that is how this game goes,” explained the Indian skipper. “As I said earlier, the guy who sits out will understand that it is in the best interest of the game. In a scenario like this we will always think of the guy who had more impact in setting up the game or winning the game.”

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 14:17 IST