India were dealt with a massive blow when KL Rahul was ruled out of the two-match Test series against New Zealand. The batter was in sublime form and was set to open in the first Test. However, a thigh injury cut short his stay with the team.
Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer feels Rahul's injury is a body blow to India. Notably, Rahul had a brilliant series against England and looked assured against the swinging ball.
"Obviously, it's a big blow for Team India as he (KL Rahul) has been in fine form. In the last series that we played in England; he had performed exceptionally well. India played so well against England and the credit largely goes to the partnerships between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul," Jaffer said during an interaction on ESPNCricinfo.
Jaffer further said that the New Zealand series was a golden opportunity for Rahul to cement his place as an opener in the team. Rahul is considered one of the best batters in the country and has done considerably well in the white-ball format. However, somehow he has failed to carry on that form in Test cricket.
"In white-ball cricket, there's no doubt that he is one of the best at the moment. We all know that he has the potential of playing red-ball cricket as well but he has not been consistent.
"But the way he played against England; I think it's a massive blow for him (to miss the New Zealand series).
"However, there are players like Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, who also haven't played much cricket. Shubman got injured ahead of the Test series in England, so he'll be raging to perform well," he added.
The series gets underway tomorrow, November 25 in Kanpur. Along with Rahul, India won't have the services of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Meanwhile, New Zealand will welcome their big guns, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and Neil Wagner.