In a big development ahead of India's Test series against New Zealand, KL Rahul has been ruled out of the first five-day game set to commence at the Green Park Stadium, Kanpur. The news comes as a big blow to the Indian team who will already be without Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Moreover, Rahul was carrying some good form coming into the first Test and would have wanted to help India off to a great start in what is expected to be a batting-friendly surface at the Green Park.
The decision also suggests that India would be forced to field a new opening pair of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal for the first Test with Shreyas Iyer likely to make his Test debut and bat at number 4.
Earlier, KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin were handed rest in the third T20I against the Kiwis ahead of the Test matches but Rahul's injury has now played a spoilsport. India recently registered a 3-0 clean sweep over the BlackCaps in the T20Is series and would now want to take the same form in the Test matches.
There's only three or four guys going on to Kanpur for the Tests, others can celebrate T20I series win: Rahul Dravid
"I think it was a really good series win. Everyone played well right through the series. It's nice to start well but we are realistic and we need to keep our feet on the ground. It's not easy for New Zealand to show up after a World Cup final and play three games in six days," India's new head coach Rahul Dravid had said after the series win.
"We have to keep our feet on the ground and learn some things on the way forward. It's been really good to see some of the younger guys come through. We gave opportunities to some guys who haven't played a lot of cricket in the last few months with some more experienced guys taking a break," he added.
"It's going to be a long season between now and the next World Cup being realistic with how much cricket some of our experienced players will play. There's only three or four guys from here going on to Kanpur for the Tests and will need to be up at 7:30 am, so maybe the other guys will be able to have a late night and enjoy themselves," Dravid responded when asked if the boys would be able to celebrate the series win.
The first Test is set to commence on November 25 at 9:30 AM (IST).