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IND vs ENG Tests | Rahul ruled out of Rajkot Test, Padikkal named as replacement

In his element: A superb 151 against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy may have clinched a spot for Padikkal.
| Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Devdutt Padikkal, the stylish left-handed bat, has received his maiden call-up after K.L. Rahul — his Karnataka senior — has been ruled out of India’s third Test versus England, to be played here from Thursday.

“Rahul has reached 90% of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team,” Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, wrote in a statement.

“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.”

Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja — both of whom had missed the second Test after getting hurt during India’s loss in Hyderabad last month — had been named in the squad for the last three Tests pending fitness clearance.

While India’s squad that reassembled here on Sunday had its first training session at the stadium on Monday, Rahul is understood to have undergone a fitness test at the NCA. With the selectors and the team-management, in consultation with the BCCI medical team, deciding to not risk a player, the selection committee unanimously zeroed in on Padikkal being given a maiden Test call-up.

Interestingly, chief selector Ajit Agarkar witnessed Padikkal’s sensational 151 for Karnataka against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy’s high-profile southern derby over the last four days.

It is understood that Jadeja appeared to be fit during Monday’s net session which was played behind closed doors, with no mediaperson being allowed to watch the team train.

It will be interesting to see if Padikkal is made to wait for his India cap, with Sarfaraz Khan being the front-runner to replace Shreyas Iyer in India’s middle-order. Sarfaraz was brought in as Rahul’s replacement ahead of the second Test and has been retained in the squad with Shreyas being dropped.

Rehan halted at airport

Meanwhile, England leggie Rehan Ahmed was stopped from exiting the Hirasar airport — on the outskirts of the Kathiawari city — due to lack of multi-entry visa upon England’s arrival here on Monday.

England’s squad spent the week-long break in Abu Dhabi before arriving here on Monday. It was noticed that Rehan had a single-entry visa so the England squad waited at the airport in the afternoon before the formalities were completed.

It is understood that with the help of local authorities, Rehan was granted a two-day visa at the earliest and the remaining paperwork will be completed well in time before the scheduled start of the match.

Leach ruled out

Rehan will be crucial to England’s plans with Jack Leach, supposed to be the leader of the spin attack, having been ruled out of the remainder of the series. After sustaining a knee injury in Hyderabad, Leach missed the Visakhapatnam Test and has headed back home. The England camp has not named a replacement for Leach.

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