India opener KL Rahul has been ruled out of the Test series against New Zealand due to a thigh injury. This is a massive blow to India who are already without the services of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The India T20I skipper has been rested from the series. Kohli, on the other hand, will miss the first Test before returning for the second game in Mumbai. Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav has been added to the India squad as Rahul’s replacement.
NEWS – Suryakumar Yadav replaces KL Rahul in India's Test squad.
KL Rahul has sustained a muscle strain on his left thigh and has been ruled out of the upcoming 2-match Paytm Test series against New Zealand.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 23, 2021
With Rahul injured, India will have to open with a new opening combination of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. This will also open an opportunity for Shreyas Iyer or Suryakumar Yadav to make their Test debut. Rahul has been in stellar form in the shorter versions of the game. After setting the Indian Premier League on fire, the dashing batter continued his form in the 20-20 World Cup and the recent T20I series against New Zealand.
Rahul was one of the batters on which India were resting their hopes. The other senior players Ajinkya Rahane and Chesteshwar Pujara are not in the best of form. The series is part of the World Test Championship and stands of great importance. The series gets underway on November 25 in Kanpur before the caravan moves to Mumbai for the second Test from December 3.
In another development, NZ coach Gary Stead has hinted that they may play three spinners for the first Test. “The traditional way of playing four seamers and one part-time spinner can’t be the way to go over here. You may see three spinners playing in this game and that will be decided once we have a look at the surface,” Stead said while making it clear that Mumbai-born left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel looks like a sure-shot starter.