India opener KL Rahul has been ruled out of the two-match Test series against New Zealand due to a muscle strain in his left thigh. The opening Test is scheduled to be played at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur from Thursday (November 25).
“Team India batsman KL Rahul has sustained a muscle strain on his left thigh and has been ruled out of the upcoming 2-match Paytm Test series against New Zealand,” BCCI said in a press release.
“He will now undergo rehabilitation at NCA in preparation for the series against South Africa scheduled next month,” the release added.
The 29-year-old Rahul has featured in 40 Tests, scoring 2321 runs at an average of 35.16. His highest score (199) came against England in Chennai in 2016.
Top-order batter Suryakumar Yadav has been added to the Indian squad as Rahul’s replacement, and the Mumbaikar is unlikely to open the batting.
Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the strong contenders for the opening position and were seen practicing together during the team’s net session as captain Ajinkya Rahane, his deputy for the series-opener Cheteshwar Pujara, also batted.
Young Shubman was expected to bat in the middle order, but now in the absence of Rahul, he has to play in his usual opening position.
As per media reports, Rahul complained about his niggle ahead of the third T20I in Kolkata, and after getting clearance from the board, he went back to his home in Bengaluru while Suryakumar accompanied the squad from Kolkata to Kanpur.
“Rahul didn’t even come to Kanpur. He had gone back straight to Bengaluru. His case is two-fold,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
“Yes, there is a niggle but you can’t ignore the fact that he has been in bubble as long as a Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant. Since NCA is in Bengaluru, it gives him a chance to be at home and at the same time carry out his rehabilitation programme,” he added.