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‘KL Rahul is unfit, not aware of percentage’: India batting coach provides update on batter’s fitness

India batting coach Vikram Rathour said he was not aware of the percentage of KL Rahul’s recovery but right now he is unfit to play.

KL Rahul’s unavailability has become a talking point during the ongoing India vs England Test series. The right-hander, who was one of India’s best batters in the first Test in Hyderabad, was ruled out of the second Test with a quadriceps injury. In between the long gap between the first and the second Test, Rahul trained at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. His recovery was never in doubt. The notion was strengthened further when was named in India’s squad for the remaining three Tests, albeit subject to final fitness clearance.

KL Rahul plays a shot(AFP)

But that clearance never came. Exactly a week ago, BCCI declared that Rahul was ruled out of the third Test. He was replaced by Devdutt Padikkal. “KL Rahul, whose availability for the remaining three Tests was subject to fitness, has been ruled out of the third Test against England in Rajkot. Rahul has reached 90 per cent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team. He will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test,” BCCI said in a release.

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90% was the keyword here. It meant Rahul was inches away from regaining full fitness. In other words, it was a given that would be available for the fourth Test in Ranchi. But a couple days after India’s victory in Rajkot, BCCI said that Rahul was not yet fit and was ruled out of the fourth Test and his participation in the fifth is subject to fitness.

Quite naturally, India batting coach Vikram Rathour was asked to give an update on Rahul’s fitness ahead of the fourth Test match. The former India opener said he was not aware of the percentage of Rahul’s recovery but right now he is unfit to play.

“For me, he’s either fit or unfit. Right now he is unfit. I’m not sure what percentage that is. The medical team will be able to tell you. As far as we are concerned, he is not and not available for this game. We are focussing on the players we have,” Rathour said on the eve of the all-important Ranchi Test.

Rahul has had a long injury of injuries. His first major injury came in 2017 when he was ruled out of the Champions Trophy in England. Since then he has never been too far away from picking up one injury or other. Another injury in 2022 hurt his proceedings and when he made a comeback, an unfortunate injury during an IPL 2023 match pegged him back again. He had to undergo surgery that kept him out of action for a long time.

Rahul’s absence gives another chance to Rajat Patidar

Rahul’s absence means Rajat Patidar will get another crack at impressing the selectors and the team management after two ordinary outings.

“If KL Rahul comes back, if Virat Kohli comes back… We don’t know when that is going to happen. As far as having conversations are concerned, yes, we have had a lot of conversations with him (Rajat Patidar). One thing he needs to understand is that this is how this game goes.

He has been batting really well. He has scored a lot of runs to get into the team and he doesn’t become a bad player after just two matches. He’s a really good player. He’s had a few awkward dismissals, which can happen at this level. But no doubt, on his day, he can play an impactful knock,” Rathour said.


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