India vs Australia: How does KL Rahul’s injury stack up with India’s plans for Sydney Test?

KL Rahul was ruled out of the Test series with a wrist injury today.

KL Rahul (Credits – Getty Images)

India’s list of injuries saw a new entrant today as KL Rahul was ruled out of the remainder of Test series. Rahul picked up a sprain in the wrists while batting in the nets and will now be rehabilitated at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Now the question is, does it affects India’s plans for the third Test in Sydney. And apparently, the answer is yes.

Reports suggested that Rahul was one of the changes India was planning for the third Test. The Karnataka batsman was taunted to be replace struggling middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. Following a ton in the warm-up game, Vihari has scored mere 45 runs in three innings which has brought the axe upon him. Does the injury to Rahul mean Vihari will feature in the third Test? The answer to it depends on a plethora of factors.

After a tough couple of weeks, Rohit Sharma is finally ready to join the action Down Under. His inclusion in the side was confirmed last week as he was named the vice-captain of the Test side. Off late, Rohit has proved his prowess as an opener in red-ball cricket as he put up an impressive show during India’s home season las year. And will be rearing to prove his mettle as a Test opener overseas.

Who will make way for Rohit?

Rohit Sharma

India came into the Test series with as many as five openers in the squad. But you take a look at the side now and you will see only two real options for the job. The opening trouble is what led India down in Adelaide. With the return of Rohit, it looks like India will finally have some stability at the top as he pairs up Shubman Gill. Gill was impressive on debut at the MCG as he played with intent and displayed his superior technique. This means Mayank Agarwal, who has notched up scores of 17, 9, 0 and 5 so far will make way for Rohit.

Following his failure, Mayank’s revamped stance has garnered criticism. But given the Karnataka opener’s heroics on his last visit Down Under, the team management might be tempted to hand him another opportunity. In this case, two scenarios arise. First, that Mayank will be open the innings with Rohit which will see Gill getting pushed down the order. Or on the other hand, Mayank might be the one who will be batting down the order. In any case, Rohit will hang on to his opening slot.

On the other hand, it is going to be a toss-up between Mayank and Vihari regarding who gets another shot in the Border Gavaskar series. Both the players are fairly young in Test cricket and the decision will be entirely based on their technique. As Ravi Shastri has already confirmed that India will be going forward with five specialist bowlers, the tourists will be keen to bolster their batting unit. So if you are wondering that Vihari’s handy offspin might save for one more, that might not be the case this time around.

T Natarajan eyeing a Test debut

On the bowling side of things, Umesh Yadav‘s absence has led to selection conundrum. The think tank has the likes of T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini to select a replacement for the experienced quick. Given the Saini’s performance in the ODI series, he is not likely to be making his Test debut on this tour. This leaves us with Natarajan and Shardul, two bowlers who stayed back to help the side as net bowlers. And made into the side replacing Umesh and Mohammed Shami respectively. Both the players were effective in the limited over series and have pros and cons of their own.

While Natarajan brings in a natural variation bein a left-arm quick, Shardul makes up for it in the experience section. The latter trumps Natarajan on the basis of both international as well as first-class experience. Even so, the Chennai speedster brings in the ability to make footmarks to aid the spinners much like Mitchell Starc aids Nathan Lyon in the Aussie side. As of now, nothing can be said for sure about the upcoming changes in the Indian side. But one thing is certain that the tourists will be looking to pull off a win like the Boxing Day Test as they look to make big changes in the side yet again.

The third Test will be hosted at the SCG from January 7. The game is set to be a thriller as the series is levelled one all. And the third Test will be crucial in deciding which way the wind will flow going into the final Test at the Gabba.

Also Read | Captain Kane Williamson comes up with yet another classy act, delays declaration for Daryl Mitchell’s maiden century


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here