Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

After failing to recover from the quadriceps pain, senior batsman KL Rahul has been ruled out of the third match in the ongoing five-match Test series against England. Moreover, there is also question mark over star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s fitness and subsequent availability for the Rajkot game.

Under the circumstance, team management will have a hard time figuring out their playing XI for the third match against the visitors where they will aim to take lead against England for the first time in this five-match series.

If Jadeja is fit, he will be included in the playing XI. It means one between all-rounder Axar Patel and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will sit out. In that case, Kuldeep is likely to maintain his spot in the XI considering his brilliant bowling in the last match. If Jadeja is not included in the playing XI due to fitness issue, there will be no change in the spin department.

After Shreyas Iyer’s exclusion from the team, senior batsman KL Rahul was expected to take his spot. However, Rahul has been ruled out of the third Test as he has not got the full fitness back. That means, long wait for Sarfaraz Khan will come to an end. The youngster is all set to earn his maiden Test cap in Rajkot. In-form southpaw Devdutt Padikkal may also be considered for the spot.

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KS Bharat’s poor form is also a concern for Team India. In seven Tests so far in his career, the struggling wicketkeeper-batsman has scored just 221 runs at a poor average of 20.09 with not a single half-century. And in the ongoing series, he has managed only 92 runs in two matches. As the batting performance of the hosts is not up to the mark in the ongoing series, talented youngster Dhruv Jurel could be handed his debut cap on Thursday.