India dealt KL Rahul injury blow ahead of third Test with England
Devdutt Padikkal has come in to replace his Karnataka team-mate.
India will be without KL Rahul for their third Test match against England after scans showed the batter’s knee injury was worse than first feared.
Rahul, 31, played the first Test of this winter’s five-match series, scoring 86 and 22 across his two innings in England’s staggering 28-run win, but withdrew from India’s squad for the second Test along with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
India levelled the series with victory in Vizag in the duo’s absence but it had been hoped both players could return to play a role when the two teams resume battle in Rajkot on Thursday.
While Jadeja is expected to be recalled after working his way back to fitness from a hamstring problem, Rahul has failed to recover in time and did not link up with the rest of Rahul Dravid’s squad on Tuesday.
Rahul’s team-mate at Karnataka, Devdutt Padikkal, has been called up in his place and could feature at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium, with India looking to secure a second successive victory and take the series lead.
At the weekend, it was confirmed that Virat Kohli will play no part in the three remaining Tests for personal reasons. India’s former captain had looked set to be one of the stars of the series before pulling out of Dravid’s squad ahead of the first Test.
England, meanwhile, have been dealt a blow of their own in the build-up to the third Test after it was confirmed that spinner Jack Leach would play no further part in the series.
The Somerset man injured his knee while fielding as England triumphed in Hyderabad and subsequently pulled out of the tourists’ second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Leach’s absence leave England with only Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Bashir in the spin bowling department, along with Joe Root as a part-time option.
England head coach Brendon McCullum last week revealed that Leach’s knee appeared ‘inflamed’ and said it was ‘remarkable’ the left-arm spin bowler was able to get through the overs he managed in Hyderabad.
‘It is still pretty inflamed, but I don’t really know because he has been a crook,’ McCullum said.
‘His knee is pretty bad though, and it was remarkable he got through what he did in the first Test match.’
The New Zealander added: ‘Our spin bowling unit, albeit young and raw, have shown they’ve got what it takes.
‘The one thing I guess you don’t know about in the heat of battle is the character the guys possess.
‘The development of the young spinners has been fantastic. Not just their skillset but their passion to want the big moments.
‘I am absolutely delighted in how they have performed with very little experience under their belt.’
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