India vs New Zealand: KL Rahul's possible Test return, Hardik Pandya's fitness in focus ahead of squad selection for tour

Rahul has been India's most consistent player in T20I and ODIs but he lost his place in the Test squad after tour of Australia.

Press Trust of India, Jan 18, 2020 13:30:39 IST

Bengaluru: KL Rahul's stupendous white ball form makes him a firm favourite to get his place back in the red ball team even as selectors fret on all-rounder Hardik Pandya's fitness before picking ODI and Test squads for the New Zealand tour on Sunday.

Rahul has been India's most consistent player in T20I and ODIs but he lost his place in the Test squad after tour of Australia.

India vs New Zealand: KL Rahuls possible Test return, Hardik Pandyas fitness in focus ahead of squad selection for tour

File image of KL Rahul. Reuters

But as skipper Virat Kohli said that it's difficult to leave a player like Rahul from any squad, he has better chance than fit-again Prithvi Shaw or Shubman Gill who was reserve Test opener during home series last season.

The other change in Test squad could be fast-rising Navdeep Saini going as an extra pacer rather than Kuldeep Yadav as the third spinner since only one among Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja will make the playing XI.

Similarly, Indian team management is eagerly waiting for Hardik to become "bowling fit" for white ball matches post back surgery and will be automatic choice for ODIs if fit.

He had failed the mandatory "bowling workload test" after which his personal trainer S Rajnikanth advised him to pull out of India A's shadow tour.

In case, Hardik can't make it, selectors might either look at hitting prowess of Suryakumar Yadav since the ODIs in the Kiwiland will be an extension of T20s in World Cup year.

There is also a possibility that Ajinkya Rahane will be considered due to his better technique compared to Kedar Jadhav who is slowly falling off in pecking order.

"Kedar is certainly not going to play 2023 World Cup and doesn't even bowl now. Since he is not in T20, no point in carrying him to New Zealand. Possibly Surya or Rahane should be tried," a BCCI source privy to selection matters told PTI.

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Updated Date: Jan 18, 2020 13:30:39 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
6 New Zealand 7114 245