Virat Kohli prolonged absence from the England series is anticipated to extend to the third and fourth Tests in Rajkot and Ranchi, with doubts lingering over his participation in the fifth Test in Dharamsala. Kohli withdrew from the first two Tests on January 22, citing “personal reasons.” The BCCI has not provided further updates since, leaving selectors to deliberate on his status for the remaining Tests.
Mohammed Siraj is poised for a return after being rested in the second Test, while the fitness of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the second Test, is under evaluation at the NCA in Bangalore. The final report from the NCA physio is pending, but optimism prevails regarding the availability of at least one, if not both, players for the third Test in Rajkot.
Rahul and Jadeja, integral performers in the first Test, are vital for bolstering the middle order. Rahul, filling the No. 4 slot vacated by Kohli, seeks to enhance the team’s batting prowess. The return of Siraj, a confirmed inclusion for the Rajkot Test, adds depth to the bowling lineup. Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliance secured India’s victory in the second Test, and his workload management will be crucial.
Having lost the first Test, India staged a comeback in Vizag to level the series 1-1. The upcoming Tests in Rajkot and Ranchi precede the final Test in Dharamsala. Despite uncertainties surrounding Kohli’s participation, India remains focused on maintaining their momentum in the series against England. The selectors’ decision this week will shape the squad for the crucial upcoming Tests, taking into account the potential returns of Rahul and Jadeja and the strategic management of Bumrah’s workload. The team aims to build on its recent success and secure the series against England with strategic player inclusions and a comprehensive performance in the upcoming Tests.
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