KL Rahul will keep wickets in the Indian Test team’s warm-up against a County Select XI that begins here at the Riverside ground on Tuesday, it has been confirmed by the Indian cricket board.
The two regular wicketkeepers in the squad, Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha, won’t be able to take the field.
Pant, who tested positive for Covid-19 during the three-week break after the World Test Championship final, is yet to join the team’s bio-bubble after spending time in isolation.
Saha is in isolation till July 24 after he came in contact with training assistant Dayanand Garani, who, along with Pant had tested positive.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday confirmed to IANS that “KL Rahul will keep wickets in the warm-up match from July 20-22”.
“Once Pant’s test results come negative and he is cleared by BCCI medical team, he will join the bubble,” said an official aware of the development.
The loss of regular wicketkeepers is the latest in the problems that the Indians are facing on the tour of England.
Opening batsman Shubman Gill is already out of the first Test, due to leg injury, and will definitely not play.
That leaves Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul as the opening options for Rohit Sharma.
It is unlikely Rahul will open the innings, especially since he is playing as a wicketkeeper. The right-handed Karnataka batsman may be tried only in the middle-order during the Test series as well.
In his absence, Mayank Agarwal will face the new ball against a County XI that will be led by Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes and include pace bowler Ethan Bamber and off-spinner Jack Carson of Sussex, who both have had a good county season.
This is India’s only warm-up ahead of the five-Test series against England that begins on August 4 in Nottingham.
Indians: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, R. Ashwin, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav; Standby players: Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla
Unavailable for India: Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant and Abhimanyu Easwaran (standby) are in isolation while Shubman Gill is injured.
County Select XI: Will Rhodes (captain), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Aspinwell, Ethan Bamber, James Bracey, Jack Carson, Zak Chappell, Haseeb Hameed, Lyndon James, Jake Libby, Craig Miles, Liam Patterson-White, James Rew, Rob Yates.