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Availability still unclear as Rahul sent to London for treatment

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ENGLAND TOUR OF INDIA, 2024

KL Rahul has been out of the side since the first Test at Hyderabad © Getty

An air of uncertainty continues to linger over KL Rahul’s availability for the Dharamsala Test as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), national selectors, and the team management consider resting a few more players for the final match of the series. The Test is scheduled to commence on March 7.

Cricbuzz has reliably learned that Rahul, who was deemed 90 percent fit for the third Test in Rajkot in mid-February, has not fully recovered, prompting the BCCI and the National Cricket Academy (NCA) managers to reassess his situation. He has been sent overseas for an expert opinion and has been undergoing treatment for close to a week since. It cannot be confirmed but he might be consulting a specialist in London.

Rahul’s issue stems from pain in his right quadriceps, for which he underwent surgery last year. It is understood that there is still some stiffness, and given his importance to the side and the dual roles he fulfills for the team, the BCCI, selectors, and team management are reluctant to take any risks with him.

The availability of Rahul for the Dharamsala game remains unclear, and any decision regarding his selection may also be influenced by the fact that India have already clinched the series against England 3-1. At the time of filing of this report, BCCI sources could not confirm Rahul’s return date, possibly from London.

After the first Test in Hyderabad, he was rested for the second game in Visakhapatnam only as a precautionary measure with a hope that he could be back for the third in Rajkot. But things did not go as planned. Ahead of the fourth Test, a BCCI release on Rahul had stated, “KL Rahul is ruled out of the 4th Test. His participation in the final Test match in Dharamsala is subject to fitness.”

As previously reported by this website, Rahul is considered a valuable asset for the side and understandably is being treated with utmost care by the team management. Currently, he only participates in Tests and ODIs as a keeper-batter, but a recall for the T20Is is very much in the consideration. Besides, he is being looked at as a key figure for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy later in the year.

The fact that the BCCI had previously stated Rahul’s fitness at 90 percent makes his participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) almost certain. Based on his performance in the league, his selection for the Twenty20 World Cup will be considered. For the Lucknow Super Giants, which he captains, he is likely to play in the middle order and keep wickets, despite having opened for the side thus far.

Bumrah to return

It is almost certain that Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the Ranchi Test, will return for the Dharamsala game. However, discussions are ongoing regarding resting a few players to manage their workload, with the possibility of giving a break to both a batter and a bowler.

The Indian players, who dispersed from Ranchi after the fourth Test on Tuesday, have been instructed to assemble in Chandigarh on March 2. Along with the visiting England players, they will fly to Dharamsala via a chartered flight on March 3.

© Cricbuzz

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