Lokesh Rahul, ruled out with a hamstring injury in the first Test of the recently concluded India – New Zealand series, was called into the Indian Test squad as the sixteenth member. He came back only after proving his fitness in the recently concluded Ranji fixture.
Coming on the back of scores of 70 and 106, KL Rahul has been expected to make it to the starting 11. But there have been speculations that Gautam Gambhir, who surprisingly made a comeback after an exile of 2 years, could be given another opportunity to prove his credentials and consolidate his position in the squad but all the speculations have now been put down to rest by the Indian skipper himself in a press conference.
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After being persistently asked about the team selection and the opening pair combination he said:
“We are not looking to change the lot in the second Test. Rahul has been our obvious choice for the opening slot over the last few months and that is the reason why we brought him back to the squad after his injury.”
He also went to say that the chance that Gautam Gambhir got was largely helped by injuries to the first-choice players.
“Rahul is our number 1 opener along with Murali Vijay. Gautam got his chance as Rahul was injured but now that Rahul is fit and ready, we will look to stick to our old game plan. We are looking at going into the game with the best possible eleven and Rahul is one of our key players. We pulled him out of the Ranji Trophy fixture as he was fit and hence there was no question of including him on the team.”
He also hinted at some surprise inclusions in the starting 11 for the Vizag Test.
I can’t really say anything about the team selection right now. We will have our team meeting in the evening and will make the final decisions then. But you can expect some surprise selections as well, he added.
If all that Virat said is to be true and Rahul stays injury-free for the whole season then this might be the end of Gautam Gambhir’s international career which spanned over a decade.
His glorious career includes twin World Cup victories, the no.1 Test ranking and numerous memorable victories.