Devdutt Padikkal has been named as the replacement for KL Rahul, who has been ruled out of the 3rd Test against England.

India vs England: Devdutt Padikkal replaces KL Rahul in the 3rd Test Match

In a surprising turn of events, Senior Team India batter KL Rahul has been ruled out of the third Test match against England in Rajkot, which is set to begin on Thursday, February 15. The right-handed batter has been replaced by his Karnataka teammate Devdutt Padikkal.

Both Rahul and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were initially picked for the Indian team for the remaining three Tests against England. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had made it clear while announcing the squad that the participation of the duo would be subject to fitness clearance from the medical team.

An official release from the BCCI on Monday, February 12, confirmed that “Mr. Rahul has reached 90 percent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team. 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.”

As a result of Rahul’s unavailability, the Men’s Selection Committee named Devdutt Padikkal as his replacement for the third Test, which is set to start on February 15, 2024.

Rahul, who is 31 years old, had missed the second Test in Visakhapatnam after complaining of pain in his right quadriceps. He had managed to score 86 in the first innings of the opening Test in Hyderabad and 22 in the second inning.

Speaking of Padikkal, he recently played a crucial role in the Ranji Trophy 2024 match against Tamil Nadu in Chennai, where he scored 151 and 36. The chairman of selectors, Ajit Agarkar, witnessed Padikkal’s performance firsthand from the stands. The match ended in a thrilling draw on Monday.

Notably, Padikkal had also impressed in previous matches, scoring 193 against Punjab and 103 against Goa. He continued his strong form in the two unofficial Tests against England Lions, registering scores of 105, 65, and 21.

The updated Indian squad for the 3rd Test now includes players such as Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (wk), KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, and Devdutt Padikkal.

In a recent interview, Padikkal opened up about regaining his form after facing an intestinal issue over the past two years that had affected his form and fitness. Padikkal stated, “To be honest, in the last couple of years I wasn’t doing too well. My performances were naturally dipping because of that. But I was always confident enough that I’d be back scoring runs at some point. Now that I’m back in terms of my fitness and health completely, I’m really happy I’m back scoring runs as well.”

The 23-year-old batter has notched up 556 runs in six innings in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, with three centuries to his credit.

The news of Rahul’s absence and Padikkal’s inclusion has created a buzz among cricket enthusiasts, as the Indian team prepares to face England in the upcoming Test match. With a strengthened squad and impressive performances from Padikkal, the Indian team is gearing up to give a tough fight to the visiting English side.

The third Test match between India and England promises to be an exciting encounter, and cricket fans are eagerly awaiting the action that is set to unfold on the cricket field. Can Devdutt Padikkal make an impact in his debut Test match and contribute to India’s success against England? Only time will tell.