KL Rahul removed as India vice-captain in Test cricket

KL Rahul has been in a poor form for last several months

With his struggles with the bat not ending despite getting innumerable opportunities across formats for India, the Indian selectors have dropped KL Rahul as the vice-captain for test cricket in the middle of the all-important Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23 against Australia

The Indian selectors announced the squads for the third and fourth Tests as well as for the three ODIs against Australia on Sunday night in New Delhi, after the team completed a comprehensive 6-wicket victory to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four match series.

While it was being widely speculated that the Indian selectors will be taking a harsh call as far as KL Rahul was concerned, they did not drop him from the team but instead did not name him as the vice-captain of the side. 

KL Rahul has been India’s Test vice-captain for quite a while now, having also led India in Test cricket recently on their tour of Bangladesh as well as in a match in South Africa last year.

While there were no surprises in the squad that was announced, the name of Jasprit Bumrah was still missing which confirmed that the asked fast bowler is still not 100% fit and will only be seen in action during the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), playing for the five-time title winners Mumbai Indians.

While Jasprit Bumrah has reportedly been declared fit, the Indian selectors and the cricket board (BCCI) do not want to take a chance with their best fast bowler given that there are more important assignments lined up in the second half of the year 2023, which includes a possible appearance in the final of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) as well as the 50-over World Cup in October-November, which India will be hosting.

India need to beat Australia in at least three out of the four Test matches that they are playing for the Border-Gavaskar trophy 2022-23, and by the look of it, a 4-0 result is a real possibility for the team led by Rohit Sharma, which has been ruthless force against the hapless Australians in the first two matches at Nagpur and New Delhi. 

The return of Ravindra Jadeja into the side has powered them incredibly while the presence of Ravichandran Ashwin, all-rounder Akshar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammad Shami India has kept India mostly on top against Australia, despite their own batsmen having a tough time in the middle.

Only one Indian batsmen — captain Rohit Sharma – has been able to score a century in the first two matches while Akshar Patel, who is not a specialist batsman, has notched up to quality half-centuries which have both played a strong role in a favourable 2-0 result for India.

The third test between India and Australia will be played at the Holkar Stadium in Indore from March 1 while the fourth and final Test will be held at the world’s largest ground in Ahmadabad from March 9. 

Indian selectors also announced the squad for a three-match ODI series to be played against Australia from March 17, with Rohit Sharma set to miss the first match in Mumbai due to family commitments. 

In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya will be captaining the Indian cricket team in the first ODI.

While the second ODI will be played at Visakhapatnam on March 19, the third and final match of the series will be played on March 22 in Chennai post which the Indian players will get busy with their preparations for the IPL 2023 tournament. 

India’s Test squad for third and fourth Test against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), K L 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, KL 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.