Virat Kohli was expected to come back for the third Test, but that is not happening. Yes, there is a glimmer of hope that makes it it back for the final Test.
Rajkot: Virat Kohli may return to the side for the fifth and final Test versus England at Dharamshala. A BCCI official, on condition of anonymity told the PTI, that Kohli, who is on a break due to personal commitments, could be back for the all-important game in Dharamshala. Initially, Kohli had taken permission from the BCCI to be unavailable for the first two Tests. He was expected to come back for the third Test, but that is not happening. Yes, there is a glimmer of hope that makes it it back for the final Test.
Kohli is the premier batter of the side and we have already seen the middle-order struggle in the first two Test matches. In case Kohli returns for the final Test, it will be a massive boost for the Indian side.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul has been ruled out of the third Test against England in Rajkot, beginning on February 15, as he is yet to regain full fitness. His Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal has been named as a replacement. This is also Paddikal’s maiden India call-up in Tests. With no Virat Kohli already, Rahul’s absence makes matters worse for India.
The BCCI dropped Shreyas Iyer for the final three Tests, which means, Gill is the only experienced batter in the Indian middle order. Rajat Patidar looked solid during his stay in the middle in the second Test while one among Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel and Devdutt Paddikal is going to make his debut in Rajkot.
Squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul*, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja*, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep