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India's wait for 'fully fit' wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul continues

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New Delhi | February 29, 2024 10:55:16 AM IST
For nearly a month, there has been uncertainty around India's wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul's fitness and his participation in the final Test of the series against England as well as in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) as the player continues to recover from a quadricep tendon injury.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Rahul is now in London to visit a doctor about his injury, which has kept him out of the second, third, and fourth Tests against England after he played the series opener in Hyderabad.

Rahul complained of stiffness in his right quadriceps shortly following India's loss in the first Test. The early diagnosis from BCCI medical personnel at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, where Rahul went for rehab, said he would be ready for the third Test, which was played in Rajkot from February 15 to 18. The selectors had nominated Rahul to the remaining three Tests, subject to fitness.

Since complaining of stiffness in the quadriceps during the Hyderabad Test, Rahul even after attaining "90% match fitness and progressing well" could not play second, third and fourth Tests against England after he played the first Test.

Even skipper Rohit Sharma stated in Rajkot at the post-match conference that Rahul "should be okay" for the Ranchi Test, however, the wicketkeeper batter remained unavailable. A few days after the captain's statement, the Indian cricket board issued another official statement ruling him out of the Ranchi Test but did not provide any additional information.

Rahul's chances of appearing in the final Test will depend on his chances of regaining fitness before the clash.

"For me either he [Rahul] is fit or he is not. At the moment he is not. I am not sure about the percentage or what stage he is in. Only the medical team can confirm that. As far as we are concerned, he is not available and we are focussing on the team we have," India batting coach Vikram Rathour had said ahead of the Ranchi Test.

Rahul's IPL team Lucknow Super Giants (IPL) are aware of his improvement and confident about the captain's availability for the competition, which begins on March 22, according to ESPNcricinfo. The Super Giants play their debut match on March 24 at Jaipur, against the Rajasthan Royals.

The wicketkeeper batter underwent surgery last year after "ripping apart the tendon from quadriceps" during fielding in an IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in May. Rahul missed not just the rest of the IPL season, but also the World Test Championship final (held last June). Rahul then made a fine recovery, leaving his stamp of dominance in the Asia Cup and subsequently the World Cup 2023.

With much suspense on Rahul's participation in the fifth Test, Devdutt Padikkal is likely to make his debut in Dharamsala, replacing an under-performing Rajat Patidar, who was named as a replacement for the veteran batter.

With the five-match Test series in their bag by 3-1, India will lock horns with England in the fifth and last match, starting from March 7 in Dharamsala. (ANI)

 
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