The statement also mentioned Ishan Kishan as the solitary wicketkeeper for the following three-match ODI series against Australia. Rahul remains a part of the ODI squad but has not been assigned the wicketkeeping duties by the selectors. However, the team management and Rahul have insisted that his wicket-keeping and batting at No. 5 lends more balance to the ODI team.
Jaydev Unadkat, who was released from the squad to play in the Ranji Trophy final for Saurashtra this week, has also been brought back into the Test team.
KL Rahul faces heat for poor batting form
Going by the statements from the Indian camp, it seems the Indian team management is sold to the two centuries Rahul had scored at Lord’s and Centurion in 2021.
“If you look at the couple of hundreds he got outside India, one of the best I have seen from KL, especially the one at Lord’s batting on that damp pitch after losing the toss and put in to bat,” Rohit said on Sunday.
TOI understands that the national selectors and the team management have classified Rahul as a ‘big player’ who is needed to be given space.
“Of late, there has been a lot of talk about his batting. But the team management, we always look at the potential of any individual, not just KL. I have been asked in the past about a lot of players. If a guy has potential, guys will get that extended run. It is not just about KL but anyone. Playing in England is never easy and he put in a great performance there and centurion was another one. India won both those games. That is the potential he has,” Rohit added. “We are not going to look too much into what one individual is doing, it is about how everyone needs to come together. It is a big series for us, so yeah that is my thought on KL.”
However, sources in the BCCI confirmed that the selectors have deliberately not named any vice-captain. This could be a signal for Rahul that he is not assured of a place for too long.
Unadkat, Jadeja back for ODIs
The selectors also named Unadkat in the ODI squad. The left-arm medium-pacer last played an ODI in a home series against West Indies in 2013. Interestingly, Arshdeep Singh has missed out for the ODI series. Ravindra Jadeja also makes a comeback in the white-ball cricket since the Asia Cup last September. He last played an ODI in England last July.
India’s Test squad for third and fourth Test against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat.
India’s ODI squad against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (Vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkat.
* Rohit Sharma will be unavailable for the first ODI due to family commitments and Hardik Pandya will lead the side.