KL Rahul was one of those players whose name cropped up every time the Indian team management sat down to finalise the playing XI in this Australia series. Rahul, however, did not make it to the XI in the first two Tests and then an injury ruled him of the remaining two.
As Team India gears up for the third and final Test, Rahul, unfortunately got ready to fly back home to nurse his wrist injury. Before leaving, the stylish right-hander took to Twitter to express his disappointments but he did not forget to wish the Ajinkya Rahane-led side well for the remainder of the series.
“Gutted to be leaving the team, but wishing the boys all the luck for the remaining two Tests,” Rahul wrote on Wednesday.
The decision to send Rahul home was taken after he sprained his left wrist while batting in the nets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the team’s practice session on Saturday.
“The wicket-keeper-batsman will not be available for the remaining two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as he will need about three weeks time to recover completely and regain full strength,” BCCI had said in an official release.
Rahul will head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for further rehabilitation.
The four-match series between India and Australia currently stands level at 1-1 and the third Test is slated to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from Thursday.
A fit-again Rohit Sharma will replace struggling opener Mayank Agarwal and fast bowler Navdeep Saini will make his test debut for India in their third match against Australia beginning at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
Rohit returns after recovering from a hamstring injury which kept him out of the limited-overs series in Australia as well as the first two tests in Adelaide and Melbourne.
The 33-year-old from Mumbai will partner Shubman Gill at the top after Agarwal’s meagre aggregate of 31 runs in four innings made his place in the playing XI untenable.
Saini comes in for speedster Umesh Yadav. The latter sustained a strain in his left calf muscle on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and has returned to India after he was ruled out of the series.
India’s playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin and Mohd. Siraj.
(With agency inputs)
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