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KL Rahul will not be the wicketkeeper for England Tests, confirms Rahul Dravid

Last updated on 23 Jan 2024 | 10:40 AM
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KL Rahul will not be the wicketkeeper for England Tests, confirms Rahul Dravid

India have KS Bharat and uncapped Dhruv Jurel in the squad, who could don the gloves for the Test series, starting January 25

With two days to go for the first Test against England in Hyderabad, India head coach Rahul Dravid has confirmed that KL Rahul will not be the wicketkeeper for the series. Rahul kept wickets during the South Africa tour, and in fact scored a century in the first Test in Centurion.

"[KL] Rahul will not be playing as a wicketkeeper in this series," Dravid said ahead of the first Test.

"I think we were quite clear about that with the selection itself. We had picked two other wicketkeepers. Obviously Rahul did a fantastic job for us in South Africa and really played a big part in us drawing that series. 

"But considering It's five Test matches and playing in these conditions, we felt we would go with another keeping option, considering the weather, considering the conditions. So obviously it's a selection toss-up between the two other keepers that we have."

KS Bharat is likely to don the gloves for India, who also have the 22-year-old uncapped 'keeper in Dhruv Jurel. Bharat is coming off the back of an excellent series against England Lions, scoring an unbeaten ton in the second innings to help India A draw the game in Ahmedabad.

Speaking of the pitch in Hyderabad, Dravid said, "Hard one to say. Just have a look once it starts and figure it out. It looks a good one from what I've seen. May spin a little bit. How quickly and how fast, I'm not sure. But might spin a little bit certainly as the game goes on."

While Dravid lauded the way England have gone about things since Brendon McCullum joined hands with skipper Ben Stokes, he feels it will be a challenge for them in these conditions.

"They've played really well," Dravid said. 

"It's certainly been exciting to watch them play and they've had success playing like that. So why wouldn't you play like that?

"But we know it's going to be a challenge for them in these conditions as well. These are conditions that we know very well. We've got a lot of experience in our attack. As a coach, I'm looking forward to how our boys respond because I know that we'll be put under pressure and I'm really hopeful that we respond positively."

England fast bowler Mark Wood says that his side have the belief to do something special in India. "We discussed the pitch but I wouldn't say that we discussed it at length or worry about it," fast bowler Wood said on Tuesday (January 23). 

"We know, again, I know how good India are but we have enough self-belief in our group that we can do something special.

"It's no good coming here and rolling over thinking, 'Oh the pitch is going to do all the work' or 'It's going to be tough because the pitches are not what we're used to.' We have to find a way and that will be what we'll try and do in the game. We'll adapt, we've got a captain that always wants to take the game forward so it should make for an entertaining series."

Wood also rubbishes talks of coming into the series undercooked. 

"I think we've prepped really well in Abu Dhabi. We've made pitches, we've scuffed pitches up to make them spin, we've put sand down to make it spin, we've had flat pitches to practise simple and reverse swing," he said.

"It was also good to switch off there as well. We had a good team bonding session. So, we've come here fresh, mentally and physically, and ready to go."

The first Test in Hyderabad will get underway from Thursday (January 25) onwards. The action will then shift to Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala for the remainder of the series.

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