Batsman KL Rahul returned to India's squad on Friday for the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia after being sidelined for sexist comments during a controversial TV chat show appearance.
Teammate Hardik Pandya's spoke at length about his encounters with multiple women in the chat show aired last month as Rahul sat next to him, prompting an uproar on social media that led to the duo's suspension.
While their ban was lifted last month and Pandya returned to the Indian XI in New Zealand, Rahul had to prove his batting form for India A against England Lions in two unofficial Tests.
Rahul has been named in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads announced by the country's cricket board.
Skipper Virat Kohli also returned to lead the side in two T20 matches starting 24 February, followed by five ODI games.
Kohli opted out of the last two ODIs against New Zealand after guiding the side to an unbeatable 3-0 lead, also skipping India's 2-1 defeat in the T20 series.
Senior wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik was dropped from the ODI team that unites for one final time before the 50-over World Cup in England and Wales starting 30 May.
Rising star Rishabh Pant got the go-ahead instead, indicating the wicketkeeper could be a part of India's World Cup scheme.
Rahul's inclusion in the squads, however, has predominantly been met with skeptical views on microblogging website Twitter, some of which we have included below:
Kings XI Punjab certainly welcomed Rahul's inclusion in the Indian limited-overs side ahead of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL):
Look who's back 😍
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) February 15, 2019
A lot of others, though, thought of Rahul getting picked in the squads for the ODIs and T20Is as "biased selection" ahead of names such as Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill:
Now KL Rahul will score on Flat Indian pitches and confirm a Ticket to CWC.
Sad day for Karthik.
— Shailendra Gavade (@ShailendraGava2) February 15, 2019
Why kl rahul??? And not shubman gill...kl rahul got enough chances — vinay tiwari (@iamVinayT) February 15, 2019
Dinesh Karthik's confidence might have shaken a bit.... K L Rahul has been given enough chances in the middle order in the past... I m sure he will be playing no. 3 in the forthcoming matches if he plays .... #IndvAus
— Sumeet Katariya (@sumeetkatariya) February 15, 2019
There was quite a bit of support pouring in for Karthik, who had featured in India's recent limited-overs campaign in New Zealand and has exhibited his ability to quickly turn the game around with some lusty blows:
Now that Rishabh Pant has been picked, and needs game time to be assessed for a World Cup spot, I wonder whose place he will get. Jadhav? Or Rayudu? Irrespective of that, I hope this is not a final decision on Dinesh Karthik because that will be very hard on him — Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 15, 2019
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 15, 2019
Easiest player to drop in the Indian side has to be Dinesh Karthik. — Karthik Lakshmanan (@lk_karthik) February 15, 2019
However, there were also those who cautioned followers of Indian cricket against jumping to conclusions already:
For everyone, who thinks that @RishabPant777 has piped @DineshKarthik for the World Cup by being picked for Australia series, please hold your horses. DK got a run in NZ ODIs. So now Pant gets a look in here. Final call later.
— G. S. Vivek (@GSV1980) February 15, 2019
With inputs from AFP
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