KL Rahul is in the middle of great form and is likely to return to India’s Test set-up for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. The Karnataka batsman has hit runs against a number of opponents at home this season and risen to the occasion in the first two ODIs against Australia.
Rahul has already been picked for the T20I series against the Black Caps and is all set to be picked in the Test and ODI squads that will be chosen in Bengaluru on Sunday. Meanwhile, the selectors were also keeping a close watch on the recovery of all-rounder Hardik Pandya from a lower back injury that has kept him out of the game for some months now.
Rahul has had a poor time with the bat over the past several months and played only two matches after the horror run in Australia in 2018-19. He Test opener was tried at more than position but could not still recover his form. His last Test innings came against the West Indies in Kingston.
But his 80 off 52 in the second ODI against Australia in Rajkot on Friday along with decent wicket-keeping improved his chances by far. He was also picked as the man of the match. Rahul will be playing the third match of the series against the Kangaroos at his home ground Bengaluru on Sunday and another good show there will surely confirm his return to Tests. In 36 games so far, Rahul has made 2,006 runs at an average of 34 plus.
Navdeep Saini also in race for a Test spot
Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are also in the selectors’ plan but Rahul’s current form could see him prevailing over them as the preferred choice for the Test series against New Zealand that will feature two matches starting February 25.
Pacer Navdeep Saini is also in contention for a Test spot with the selectors likely to drop Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav since only one from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be picked in the playing XI. On the other hand, if Hardil fails to make the cut, the selectors might pick Suryakumar Yadav for the three-ODI series owing to his good form. Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is also in the race to replace Kedar Jadhav.
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