What’s the story?
After scoring a fifty in both innings of the second Test in Bengaluru, Indian opener KL Rahul confirmed that he is battling a shoulder injury that restricts his stroke play. India already lost Vijay to injury before the second Test but the 24-year-old admitted he is “enjoying” batting with that problem.
Speaking about his injury after India’s scripted a remarkable comeback on day four, KL Rahul said: "(My shoulder) It gets quite sore. I can't quite dive on the field. There are a few shots that I will have to restrict. I will play within myself. Even I do, it's not that I can't score, I have all the shots in the book. That is what I spoke to the management and the captain. I will have to focus more with the problem in my shoulder. I am still enjoying batting with that problem.”
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In case you didn’t know...
With three fifties in four innings, KL Rahul is not only India’s in-form batsman in the series but also the leading run-scorer in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He looked in discomfort during both Tests and Anil Kumble confirmed ahead of the second Test that both Vijay and Rahul suffered a shoulder injury before Bengaluru Test and only Rahul was fit enough to play in the second Test.
As far as openers are concerned, India have had a revolving door over the course of the home season. Owing to injuries, Murali Vijay, Parthiv Patel, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund have all opened the innings for India in Tests apart from KL Rahul.
While Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have been in good form as individuals across the home season, India have struggled to get a strong opening partnership going. And that has largely been down to the fact that they haven’t consistently had an opening pair for an entire series in the last eight months.
Mukund, replaced his Tamil Nadu teammate for the second Test, after Vijay was ruled out with a shoulder injury and what India’s opening combination for the Ranchi Test is, remains to be seen.
After losing the first Test in Pune, India bounced back despite conceding a lead in Bengaluru to level the series at 1-1. The action now moves onto Ranchi where the third Test begins on March 16.
As the in-form batsman in the series, India will be hoping that they don’t lose KL Rahul to injury for the rest of the series. But the fact that Rahul himself admitted that he can play but just not all the shots in the book is a good sign for India as they look to come from behind and claim the series win over Australia.