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 per cent 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 with injuries 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 not to 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 151 for Karnataka against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.
It is understood that Jadeja appeared to be fit during Monday’s net session which was played behind closed doors.
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.
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