IND vs ENG: KL Rahul won’t keep wickets in England Test series, says coach Dravid

Dravid also stated that the options for wicket-keeping duties will be K.S. Bharat and Dhruv Jurel, with the latter receiving his maiden Test call-up.

Published : Jan 23, 2024 13:47 IST , HYDERABAD - 3 MINS READ

Head coach Rahul Dravid announced on Tuesday that KL Rahul will not be taking up the role of wicketkeeper in the upcoming five-match Test series against England. Instead, he will be playing as a specialist batsman.

Dravid also stated that the options for wicket-keeping duties will be K.S. Bharat and Dhruv Jurel, with the latter receiving his maiden Test call-up.

“Rahul will not be playing as a wicketkeeper in this series, and we are clear about that in the selection itself. We have picked two other wicketkeepers, and obviously, Rahul did a fantastic job for us in South Africa and really played a big part in helping us draw the series. But considering five Test matches and playing in these conditions, the selection will be between the two other keepers we have,” Dravid said during India’s practice session at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

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The first Test begins in Hyderabad on Thursday.

With India playing at home, the pitch has been the talking point, and Dravid hinted that the square will aid spinners.

“It’s a hard one to say, so [we will] just have a look once it starts and figure it out. It looks a good one and may spin a little bit; how quickly and fast I am not sure, but it may spin a little bit as the game goes on,” he said.

Kohli’s absence opportunity for youngster

With former skipper Virat Kohli unavailable for the initial two Tests, Coach Dravid acknowledges the team’s sentiment about missing him while emphasising the emerging opportunity for a young player.

“Any team will miss the quality of a player like Virat, and he is a phenomenal player, and his record speaks for itself. Off the field, his presence is a huge boost for the team. But having said that, it gives another opportunity for another player to step up and put in some performances,” Dravid said.

Dravid backs Gill

Shubman Gill has not scored a half-century in his last nine innings. But Dravid is not too perturbed by his lack of runs. He said, “Gill is a fine player and is starting out his journey as a cricketer, and sometimes we forget that it takes a bit of time. Sometimes, we have success instantly, and sometimes it takes time. He has done well on the A tours and in Australia, and to be fair, a lot of young players are playing on challenging wickets, and it’s quite hard at times, but Gill is doing all the right things and is putting in the effort. He had hundreds for us last season, and he is on the right track.”

Focus on the present

Dravid also stated that his sole focus is the five-match Test series and that the team isn’t getting too ahead of itself.

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“We can’t focus on the WTC (World Test Championship), and currently, our focus is on this series. There is a lot of cricket before we think about the WTC, but we know England is a very good team, and they play exciting cricket, and we have to respond and play well. We are playing a five-match Test series after a long time, and there is a lot of travel across the country. It’s a good opportunity for players from both sides to get to know each other, and we hope to hit the ground early and hard,” he said.

“The five-match Test series is the real contest between two teams and gives a chance to come back, while in two Tests if you are struggling for form, it’s difficult to come back. It’s a marathon where you have to be competitive.”

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