Senior Team India batter KL Rahul has been ruled out of the third Test match against England in Rajkot, which begins on Thursday, February 15. The right-handed batter has been replaced by his Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal.

Both Rahul and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were picked in the Indian team for the remaining three Tests against England. However, the BCCI had clearly stated while announcing the squad that the participation of the duo would be subject to fitness clearance from the medical team.

An official release from BCCI on Monday, February 12 confirmed:

“Mr. Rahul has reached 90 per cent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team. He will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test.

“The Men’s Selection Committee named Devdutt Padikkal as KL Rahul’s replacement for the third Test, starting February 15, 2024,” the release added.

31-year-old Rahul had missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam after complaining of pain in his right quadriceps. He had scored 86 in the first innings of the opening Test in Hyderabad and 22 in the second essay.

Speaking of Padikkal, he scored 151 & 36 in the Ranji Trophy 2024 match against Tamil Nadu in Chennai, with chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar watching the game from the stands. The match ended on Monday in a thrilling draw.

Earlier, the left-hander scored 193 against Punjab and 103 against Goa. He also impressed in the two unofficial Tests against England Lions, registering scores of 105, 65 & 21.

India’s updated squad for 3rd Test: Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Devdutt Padikkal.

Devdutt Padikkal recently opened up on regaining form

After striking an impressive hundred for Karnataka against Tamil Nadu in the first innings, batting at the No. 3 position, he asserted that he had no issues coming into bat one-down or opening.

“It’s just the way our team is set up. I don’t mind batting at No.3 and I don’t mind opening either. So that doesn’t really make a huge difference. So I just want to make sure wherever I bat, I contribute to the team,” he was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo.

An intestinal issue over the past two years had affected Padikkal’s form and fitness. However, he seems to have regained his batting rhythm with some fine performances this season.

“To be honest, in the last couple of years I wasn’t doing too well. My performances were naturally dipping because of that. But I was always confident enough that I’d be back scoring runs at some point. Now that I’m back in terms of my fitness and health completely, I’m really happy I’m back scoring runs as well,” the 23-year-old asserted.

The Karnataka batter has notched up 556 runs in six innings in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, with three hundreds to his credit.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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