The BCCI has named wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan as the replacement for KL Rahul, who suffered a right upper thigh injury during an Indian Premier League match recently, for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, Rahul, the Lucknow Super Giants skipper, had been ruled out of the remainder of the IPL and the WTC final after he picked up the injury while fielding during a match against Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this month. The WTC final will take place between June from 7-11 at The Oval in London.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Ishan Kishan as KL Rahul’s replacement (for the WTC final),” said a statement from BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
“KL Rahul suffered an injury to his right upper thigh while fielding during Match 43rd of TATA IPL 2023 between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore on 1st May.”
Many thought veteran stumper Wriddhiman Saha, who is having a great IPL, will get a call-up for the one-off game but Kishan’s selection showed that Shiv Sunder Das’ committee has gone with continuity.
Once Saha was categorically told last year that he won’t be picked any more for national duty as they want someone younger as Rishabh Pant’s deputy, there was no chance that the soon to be 39-year-old veteran would have been named as the replacement.
“Kishan was the designated second keeper for Border Gavaskar Trophy. There was no discussion on Wriddhiman Saha,” a source privy to development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
The BCCI also said that a decision on left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat’s, who suffered a shoulder injury to his bowling arm while practising for LSG ahead of the RCB game, participation in the WTC final will be taken at a later stage.
Shah said Rahul will undergo surgery “at the earliest”, which will be followed by a “rehab at the National Cricket Academy for the same”.
“After consultations with specialists, it has been decided that Rahul will undergo surgery at the earliest. He is ruled out of the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia,” said the BCCI statement.
“Jaydev Unadkat sustained a left shoulder injury by tripping over the side rope while bowling in the (LSG) nets. A specialist consultation has been sought and the left-arm fast bowler is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru undergoing strength and rehab sessions for his shoulder. A decision on his participation in the WTC final will be taken at a later stage.” The BCCI also added that pacer Umesh Yadav, who sustained a minor left hamstring injury during the RCB vs Kolkata Knight Riders game on April 26, had started “low-intensity” training.
“The fast bowler is currently under the care of the KKR Medical Team and has started low-intensity bowling as part of his rehab process. The BCCI Medical Team is in regular touch with KKR Medical Team and is closely monitoring Umesh’s progress,” the statement added.
Easwaran no longer a standby
The national selectors also raised a few eyebrows by not picking up India A skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran as a standby for the one-off final when the Bengal opener is apparently fit and fine.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, known more for his exploits in the IPL for CSK, has been named in the standby list although Easwaran has a far better record at the India A level.
It is believed that both team management and national selectors feel that Gaikwad has shown time and again in the IPL (different format) that he has the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
For selectors, it is often not about the quantum of runs scored but more about how the runs are being scored, how one shapes up against quality attacks.
Easwaran’s not being able to breakthrough in an IPL team and not winning any major knock-out games for Bengal in their last three seasons have also gone against him.
India’s squad for WTC final: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk).
Standby players: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav.
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