Amid all the rumours surrounding KL Rahul, playing in India as a wicketkeeper or as a specialized batter, finally, there has been some clarity by India's Head Coach, Rahul Dravid. This decision was even more on the cards as the star India batter, Virat Kohli opted out for the first two Test matches. In his absence there had to be a specialized batter who needed to be slotted in at number four.
This confirmation from coach Rahul Dravid means that either it will be KS Bharat or Dhruv Jurel who will be picked in the team as designated wicketkeeper. KL will be playing in the middle order as a specialist batter for the team. Most probably it will be Shreyas Iyer, who will be playing at the number five slot with a wicketkeeper batter. Bharat is leading the race to secure a spot in the playing XI over the inexperienced Jurel, thanks to his recent batting form and his prior experience of featuring in five Test matches.
Despite Rahul performing wicketkeeping duties and registering a century in the series opener in South Africa, the team ended up on the losing side in Centurion. However, after the series, there was speculation of him not opting to keep wickets in the England series. Speaking to reports on Tuesday, the head coach, Rahul Dravid affirmed the speculations and said that Rahul will not take on the role of wicketkeeper in the Test series against England, taking into account the conditions and the duration of the series.
"Kl Rahul will not play as wicketkeeper in the Test series against England considering the conditions and duration of the series," Dravid told reporters on Tuesday as reported by Sportstar.
Virat Kohli opts out of first two Test against England
Virat Kohli opted out of the first two Tests against England for personal reasons, as confirmed by the Indian Cricket Board on Monday. The board further stated that a replacement for Kohli would be revealed soon. While Kohli reached Hyderabad, the location of the initial Test in the five-match series, on Sunday, he did not partake in India's optional training session on Monday.
"Virat has spoken to captain Rohit Sharma, the team management and the selectors and has emphasized that while representing the country has always been his top priority, certain personal situations demand his presence and undivided attention," the board said in a statement.