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KL Rahul flies to London, uncertain for 5th Test; Jasprit Bumrah ready for Dharamsala but…: Report

India vs England: KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah’s availability continues to be the biggest topic of discussion before the 5th Test in Dharamsala.

India may have taken an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series against England but the fitness of KL Rahul and the workload of Jasprit Bumrah remains a topic of discussion ahead of the fifth and final Test match. The last chapter of what has been a fantastic series so far will be played in Dharamsala from March 7. The fourth Test ended in India’s favour in four days, which means the players will get a nine-day break. Indian players, in fact, went in different directions from Ranchi. They have been asked to assemble in Chandigarh on March 2. Players from both England and India are likely to travel from Chandigarh to Dharamsala via chartered flights on March 3.

India’s Jasprit Bumrah celebrates with KL Rahul(REUTERS)

The long gap, however, may not be enough for India to get back KL Rahul’s services. The experienced right-hander is still uncertain for the fifth Test. According to a report in Cricbuzz, Rahul has been sent to London to get an expert opinion as he is still experiencing some discomfort in his right quadriceps, the injury that kept him out from the second, third and fourth Tests of the series.

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Rahul, who scored an 86 in the first Test in Hyderabad, has been at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru ever since nursing his right quadriceps injury. Notably, Rahul underwent surgery for the same injury last year.

Those in the know of things continue to stress that Rahul’s injury is not that serious but considering his importance to the team in ODIs and Tests and the dual role he can perform for the side as a keeper, the physios and the management are not willing to take any chances.

The Dharamsala Test will be India’s last match before the IPL. Rahul’s participation for the Lucknow Super Giants in the league that starts from March 22 is in no doubt but because India are already 3-1 ahead in the Test series against England, the 31-year-old might be given more time to regain full fitness.

Who will play in India vs England 5th Test if Rahul is unfit?

This, however, does raise a few questions about NCA’s injury management. A BCCI press release before the third Test said Rahul has “regained 90% fitness” but astonishingly, the remaining 10% could not be achieved even till the fourth Test and it is unlikely to be achieved for the final Test too.

If Rahul is ruled out for the Dharamsala Test match, then doors could open for Devdutt Padikkal. There will be a temptation to keep going with Rajat Patidar, who hasn’t done anything of note in the three Tests that he has played so far but it might not be a bad idea to have a look at the left-hander in the middle-order.

As far as Bumrah is concerned, he is likely to return to the squad. The pace ace was rested for the fourth Test to manage his workload. A couple of batters and bowers who have been playing through the entire series may be rested. Whether that is Shubamn Gill or Ravichandran Ashwin, remains to be seen.


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